Mosque leader pleads with EVF not to disrupt Ramadan
Imam Muhammad Ashraf
THE LEADER of a north Croydon mosque has asked police to consider whether the English Volunteer Force's rally could be moved to outside of Ramadan – the Islamic holy month. Imam Muhammad Ashraf, of the Thornton Heath Islamic Centre, said he supported the democratic right of the protestors.
"We are in a democracy, freedom of expression they have the right to express themselves," he said.But he added: "During Ramadan people will be frequenting the mosques more than usual, with children.
"More people will be coming and going and we do not want any confrontation. "
The EVF are set to stage a protest on July 27 outside Lunar House against what it calls the "Islamification" of the UK.
Tariq Rasul, general manager of the Croydon Islamic Community Trust in London Road, said: "These organisations are anti-Muslim and their rhetoric is anti-Muslim.
"During Ramadan, as well as fasting, Muslims are also to refrain from not falling into any kind of bad behaviour.
"They are not supposed to have arguments or fight."
However, Shaiub Yusef, spokesman for the Croydon Mosque and Islamic Centre in Thornton Heath, said the timing was "neither here no there".
He said: "Of course we would rather this march was not going ahead – however, I think the community is strong enough in the Croydon area to not rise to that charge. "We do not feel that the march should be banned – we fully respect everyone's right to march and demonstrate.
"The fact that it is happening in Ramadan is neither here nor there, really.
"I guess our only regret is that during Ramadan we might not be able to offer them things we normally would, such as a cup of tea. We are sorry for that."