Islamic Centre among UK sites opening doors amid weekend of anti-Muslim demonstrations

Belfast Islamic Centre on Wellington Park in the south of the city opened its doors to the public along with more than 90 mosques across the UK to "explain their faith beyond the hostile headlines"
Belfast Islamic Centre on Wellington Park in the south of the city opened its doors to the public along with more than 90 mosques across the UK to "explain their faith beyond the hostile headlines"

Belfast Islamic Centre was among a wave of Muslim places of worship which have opened their doors across the UK, on he same weekend that anti-Islamic demonstrations have been taking place.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it hoped Sunday’s annual Visit My Mosque Day would show unity in “a tense time for faith communities”.

Webshot of the Pegida Ireland Facebook page

Webshot of the Pegida Ireland Facebook page

Nick Taylor, chief executive at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation For Peace (set up in the names of two young boys killed in the IRA’s 1993 Warrington bombing), said he had a “fascinating afternoon” at the Warrington Islamic Centre.

Meanwhile Ireland’s Sunday Independent reported that leaflets claiming to show that ISIS’ beliefs have roots in the Qur’an had been sent out in newsletters of churches in Athlone.

Dublin cleric Dr Umar Al-Qadri said the leaflets were “misquoting the Qur’an” in an attempt to “spread anti-Muslim hatred”.

Scuffles broke out in the Republic’s capital at the weekend during the launch of a self-described anti-Islamisation organisation Pegida.

Hundreds of campaigners, from a number of grassroots groups, came out in protest on Saturday.

Dublin City councillor Ciaran Cuffe of the Green Party tweeted of a “strong security presence” and some protestors pursued several men they believed to be Pegida members from O’Connell Street down on to North Earl Street.

The streets were particularly busy. Worried families, including children who were in the city for a Chinese New Year festival, and sports fans who had arrived for the Ireland and Wales RBS 6 Nations rugby match, saw the commotion unfold.

Pegida’s Dublin launch was among a series of Europe-wide demonstrations against the growth of Islam in Europe.

Banners declaring Love Not Hate and No To Islamophobia No To Pegida were held by protestors who came from different backgrounds.

Organisations such as People Before Profit, the Workers Solidarity Movement and Irish Muslim organisations were among the demonstrators.

Sinn Fein MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan told an anti-racism rally on O’Connell Street: “We are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity to show that there is no place in Ireland for racism and Islamophobia.

“There is no place in Ireland for hate.

“We are a welcoming nation because we are no strangers to migration.”

Pegida UK supporters, on a march near Birmingham, were seen holding banners featuring the smiling face of controversial US presidential hopeful Donald Trump and the words Trump Is Right.

Tommy Robinson, a Pegida UK organiser and the ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), told Sky News that monthly protests would be held in the West Midlands this year as around 200 gathered for the event.