Residents living near new Lincoln mosque site invited to dispel misconceptions about Islam

Residents living near the site of a new mosque in Boultham were able to meet their new neighbours at an event designed to dispel misconceptions about Islam.

In the same weekend as a second EAP protest took place in the city, residents heard from the Lincoln Imam during a useful question and answer session on Sunday afternoon (January 19) at the Royal Naval Association Club in Coulson Road.

The event took place on World Religion Day, which recognises the similarities between all faiths.

Organised by the Boultham Residents Association with the Islamic Association of Lincoln, ‘The Truth About Islam’ event was an opportunity to dispel misunderstandings about Islam, and for residents to find out more about what the mosque would mean for the local community.

Dr Tanweer Ahmed, of the Islamic Association of Lincoln, said: “We’ve been working for some time to gain a better understanding of each other. The vast majority of times it’s the lack of understanding that causes problems.

“This mosque for us is emotionally important as a place of worship, but we hope local residents will also be able to use the facility for their needs. It is very important to us to engage and integrate with other members of the community.”

During the evening, the Imam of Lincoln Mosque explained various elements of Islam, including the characteristics that Muslims aspire to and how they should live their lives.

The Imam explained a key element of Islam is respect for neighbours, whether these neighbours live next door or they are members of large world communities of a different faith. Islam is about humility, tolerance and respect for others. Its moral precepts are shared by Jews and Christians alike.

Jean Flannery, of the residents’ association, said: “Both our groups are eager to foster and encourage the very best possible relationship that we can between the local residents community and the mosque community. We’re all part of the community of our city.

“To that end we’re working together to promote mutual understanding and mutual acceptance of one another. It’s with understanding that acceptance comes and recognition of our uniqueness, the things that separate us and the things that join us and make us one.”

The session was also attended by Cllr Brent Charlesworth, the city council’s Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion, and all three ward members for Boultham.

Cllr Charlesworth said: “This was an interesting and worthwhile opportunity for local people to meet their new neighbours and to lay the foundation for future co-operation.”

The mosque has planning permission to be built on the derelict site of the former Boultham Park Diary.

The protest organised by the East Anglian Patriots on Saturday, January 18, passed without major incident. A counter-protest by the Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism (LARF) group also took place in Lincoln city centre.

Lincolnshire Echo, 21 January 2014