Luton Islamic Centre Press Release 10/04/2017
The trustees of Luton Islamic Centre strongly refute Andrew Gilligan’s ridiculous allegation that Khālid Masood was a public contact person for our mosque’s web site. Gilligan is implying that the Luton Islamic Centre is in some way complicit in the tragic Westminster events of March 22. The entire Sunday Times article is based upon deliberately fabricated evidence.
Masood never attended our mosque; the sticker with Khalid Masood’s name and number on the leaflet was deliberately placed there to support Gilligan’s false allegation. Masood left Luton in 2012 and never to return. It is beggars belief that the Luton Islamic Centre, or any centre for that matter, would display leaflets with stickers attached, bearing the name and number of an infamous killer. On the Friday following Masood’s murderous rampage in London, the entire Friday sermon at the mosque was dedicated to condemning this attack and this was before Gilligan presented his so-called evidence.
Contrary to Gilligan’s claims, Luton Islamic Centre does not have a public contact person for the web site. The contact details of our web site are displayed online and consists of an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and not a telephone number. Khalid Masood’s name has never appeared on our web site. Giiligan, on his own admittance has searched through the archives of our web site. We challenge him to bring any online evidence, linking Khalid Masood to our web site or to our mosque.
The opportunistic use of the deaths and injuries of our fellow citizens to scapegoat and demonise Muslims is gutter journalism at its worst and brings his entire profession into disrepute. Gilligans’s toxic obsession with attacking all things Islamic is hypocritical to the extreme given that he was once a paid employee of Press TV, the propaganda channel of the Iranian government.
The tragic events of March 22 brought together people from all walks of life, united in grief and in a determination not to allow this to divide us. For others, such as the fascist right and the likes of Gilligan, such murderous acts are the perfect opportunity to pedal hate and xenophobia.
The Holy Quran exhorts us to not to help or support any type of terrorism or extremism: The Quran states “ Co-operatewith one another in goodness and piety and do not co operate with one another in sin and enmity” (Chapter 5:2)
Luton Islamic Centre reaffirms its commitment to opposing violent radicalisation, and exposing and challenging those who promote it. It is from the teachings of Islam that Muslims must stand out firmly for justice. The Quran states “O you who have believed, stand out firmly for justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.” (Chapter 4: 135)
To date we have refuted the ideology of groups such as al-Qaeeda, ISIS, as well as al- Muhaajiroon through the distribution of tens of thousands of leaflets in mosques across the UK, several national conferences, publications of three books, as well as work in prisons, the streets and mosques across the country. We will continue to work with the Luton Council of Mosques, the Luton Borough Council, faith leaders, anti-racists and the police to ensure that Luton remains united against all forms of violent extremism.