Group runs ‘political campaign’ over management of Harrow Central Mosque

Group runs ‘political campaign’ over management of Mosque, in Station Road

Group runs ‘political campaign’ over management of Mosque, in Station Road

First published in News
Last updated
Harrow Times: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Disagreements over the running of a mosque have led to a campaign calling for change.

A group called Friends of Harrow Central Mosque started the campaign entitled ‘Save your Masjid’ in opposition to the current committee running Harrow Central Mosque (HCM).

The group says it is concerned about the inclusive nature of the mosque, the transparency of decisions made and what members say is the lack of public engagement from the committee.

However the trustees of the mosque say the group is carrying out a “political campaign”.

In a statement, Friends of Harrow Central Mosque said: “Harrow Central Mosque and Masood Islamic Centre is not a preserve for a few.

“It is a responsibility on the whole community to entrust the running of their affairs and centres to those who are experienced, capable and humble.”

It went on: “The future of current and future generations to come is directly linked to the ability of HCM to be able to address the needs of our community in every sense of the word.

“Unless we revert to our vision of the community and entrust the responsibility of running our centres to those who are a unifying force and able to galvanise the energies of our elderly and young, brothers and sisters, we will be failing in our duty to thank Allah (SWT) for the beautiful centre we've been blessed with.”

In response, Rizwan Mirza, general secretary at Harrow Central Mosque said: “We are here for the community as a whole and we do not want to let our mosque become a platform for others to come in and speak about whatever they want.

“The congregation in Harrow is very supportive of our stance. There is a definite political nature to this campaign.”

In a statement, the executive committee of Harrow Mosque said: “We encourage you, the community, not to be misled by such political campaigns.

“To those responsible, follow the advice of our Beloved Prophet (SAW), avoid disputation and find noble ways for change and improvement.

“We should not use the masjid as a platform for politics and to create disharmony.”

They added: “Let us come together as a community, stand against such attempts at causing disunity and defend our community from mischief.”

Comments (11)

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9:36pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

Very concerned to read the article above.Harrow Central Mosque has been at the heart of our community for many years and is well respected by many.We all should be extremely careful not to make this place of worship a subject of needless controversy and make it a target for outsiders, wishing to cause harm to the HCM,as happened in 2009.

As former Chair of the Harrow Police & Community Consultative Group I have had the honour and privilege of being invited along with our committee members on several occasions ,especially to participate during festivals such as Ramadan.Even today,we are regularly invited to special events and enjoy their hospitality.

Past and present Borough Commanders of Harrow Police,Councillors,L
eaders and Mayors of Harrow Council,Community leaders ,Harrow Inter Faith Council members,and prominent folk from the local and neighbouring boroughs have had excellent access to this Mosque.

This had been our prime requisite when it was being built.We were given assurances from the people in charge which were honoured fully..

We were always received very warmly and shown around the Harrow Central Mosque(the old building as well as the new one)very respectfully with explanations about Islam and its teachings.Often we attended functions where food was served.

I have no recollection of the Friends of Harrow Central Mosque which seems to be a fledgling group consisting of community members,still learning the ropes.They must think carefully before making such damaging statements about a team of experienced and competent members who have helped this Mosque to go from strength to strength.

It disturbs me greatly to hear them make such negative comments about the committee,accusing them of lacking transparency, inclusivity and proper engagement with the community.I cannot relate to any of these nor can many others who have visited so often.It's simply not true.

You have read the appeal made by the General Secretary of Harrow Central Mosque,Rizwan Mirza.Please consider it very carefully. Patience is a virtue.Take time to consider the implications of your actions before trying to institute changes hurriedly.These are tremendously sensitive issues and must be handled with kid gloves.Slow and steady wins the race!As Friends of the HCM your task is to achieve whatever will serve its interests best.

It is a complete non-sense to suggest that the internal and private workings of the management committee,responsibl
e for the smooth running of the Mosque should be discussed in the public domain.

No Faith organisation---Churc
h,Temple,Synagogue,M
osque or any other religious denomination would tolerate such interference.It would be an attack on what they hold most sacred,personal and very private.

Of course,Harrow Council and Police are tasked with ensuring all our Faith organisations are conducting their activities in a spirit which will help promote communal harmony and bind the larger community more closely.Any divisive steps must be jettisoned.

Whilst appreciating that newer organisations/groups have their own perceptions and may wish to ring in some changes it seems ludicrous to have this internal display of disunity in public.

This is counter-productive when many issues can be peaceably settled,without resorting to negative publicity.It does not behove those who truly wish to SERVE the Mosque as genuine followers of Allah and supporters of Islam,which means PEACE.

Reliable sources have revealed that elections for a new committee for the Harrow Central Mosque will be held within the next few months.It seems eminently sensible to hold one's horses and wait to have all these concerns aired out in public at the time of the election,with everybody present so that the new committee is elected in the fairest and most democratic manner possible.

Dear Friends of Harrow Central Mosque,I humbly request you to review your actions.Please do not under-estimate the harm which you may unwittingly inflict upon the good name and standing of our Mosque should you choose to continue in this vein.You would be doing your own community as well as the larger community of Harrow a huge dis-service campaigning in this fashion.In UNITY lies strength.

We must ensure that our egos do not get the better of us,and that we ALL focus on achieving a noble COMMON GOAL---keeping the fabric of our hugely diverse community safe and harmonious.This could be your chance to show-case Islam in its purest form.

With a mind filled with positivity,let us calm down and pray to the Almighty for blessings and guidance. Insha Allah,may your efforts result in incorporating new beginnings and fresh ideas ,in due course,thus enriching and expanding the good works already being performed by the Harrow Central Mosque.

A belated EID MUBARAK to you all.Peace Be With You.
Very concerned to read the article above.Harrow Central Mosque has been at the heart of our community for many years and is well respected by many.We all should be extremely careful not to make this place of worship a subject of needless controversy and make it a target for outsiders, wishing to cause harm to the HCM,as happened in 2009. As former Chair of the Harrow Police & Community Consultative Group I have had the honour and privilege of being invited along with our committee members on several occasions ,especially to participate during festivals such as Ramadan.Even today,we are regularly invited to special events and enjoy their hospitality. Past and present Borough Commanders of Harrow Police,Councillors,L eaders and Mayors of Harrow Council,Community leaders ,Harrow Inter Faith Council members,and prominent folk from the local and neighbouring boroughs have had excellent access to this Mosque. This had been our prime requisite when it was being built.We were given assurances from the people in charge which were honoured fully.. We were always received very warmly and shown around the Harrow Central Mosque(the old building as well as the new one)very respectfully with explanations about Islam and its teachings.Often we attended functions where food was served. I have no recollection of the Friends of Harrow Central Mosque which seems to be a fledgling group consisting of community members,still learning the ropes.They must think carefully before making such damaging statements about a team of experienced and competent members who have helped this Mosque to go from strength to strength. It disturbs me greatly to hear them make such negative comments about the committee,accusing them of lacking transparency, inclusivity and proper engagement with the community.I cannot relate to any of these nor can many others who have visited so often.It's simply not true. You have read the appeal made by the General Secretary of Harrow Central Mosque,Rizwan Mirza.Please consider it very carefully. Patience is a virtue.Take time to consider the implications of your actions before trying to institute changes hurriedly.These are tremendously sensitive issues and must be handled with kid gloves.Slow and steady wins the race!As Friends of the HCM your task is to achieve whatever will serve its interests best. It is a complete non-sense to suggest that the internal and private workings of the management committee,responsibl e for the smooth running of the Mosque should be discussed in the public domain. No Faith organisation---Churc h,Temple,Synagogue,M osque or any other religious denomination would tolerate such interference.It would be an attack on what they hold most sacred,personal and very private. Of course,Harrow Council and Police are tasked with ensuring all our Faith organisations are conducting their activities in a spirit which will help promote communal harmony and bind the larger community more closely.Any divisive steps must be jettisoned. Whilst appreciating that newer organisations/groups have their own perceptions and may wish to ring in some changes it seems ludicrous to have this internal display of disunity in public. This is counter-productive when many issues can be peaceably settled,without resorting to negative publicity.It does not behove those who truly wish to SERVE the Mosque as genuine followers of Allah and supporters of Islam,which means PEACE. Reliable sources have revealed that elections for a new committee for the Harrow Central Mosque will be held within the next few months.It seems eminently sensible to hold one's horses and wait to have all these concerns aired out in public at the time of the election,with everybody present so that the new committee is elected in the fairest and most democratic manner possible. Dear Friends of Harrow Central Mosque,I humbly request you to review your actions.Please do not under-estimate the harm which you may unwittingly inflict upon the good name and standing of our Mosque should you choose to continue in this vein.You would be doing your own community as well as the larger community of Harrow a huge dis-service campaigning in this fashion.In UNITY lies strength. We must ensure that our egos do not get the better of us,and that we ALL focus on achieving a noble COMMON GOAL---keeping the fabric of our hugely diverse community safe and harmonious.This could be your chance to show-case Islam in its purest form. With a mind filled with positivity,let us calm down and pray to the Almighty for blessings and guidance. Insha Allah,may your efforts result in incorporating new beginnings and fresh ideas ,in due course,thus enriching and expanding the good works already being performed by the Harrow Central Mosque. A belated EID MUBARAK to you all.Peace Be With You. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -7

1:36pm Fri 1 Aug 14

bushraanwar says...

Thank you for your comment, and Eid Mubarak to you too.

As a member of the community, I have been a visitor to this Mosque and other Mosques, attending events and circles and meeting the wonderful Harrow community.

However, speaking as someone who has tried to engage with the committee, there are a number of points which I would like to disagree with.

I agree that disunity is not beneficial, and as a community it is in our interest to work together to strengthen our goals. However, none of this would have happened had our initial requests for meetings and discussion had been met. The Friends of HCM had tried, on many occasions, tried to engage with the committee and raise issues that were pertinent to the community. Some members of the Friends of HCM have worked with HCM in the past too and helped them in fundraising etc so it was disappointing that when they tried to bring to light issues that were dividing the community, the committee at HCM refused to engage. Details of efforts are highlighted here.
http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/fohcm-eng
agement-with-hcm-bac
kground

Unfortunately, due the committee unwilling to listen to what the communities needs were, or what they had to say, then the trustees discharged their own responsibilities and forced matters to come to light.
The issue was not addressed when it was raised. Friends of HCM fully believe in harmonious relationship and unity and to this end have tried repeatedly to engage with the trustees to include the entire community of Harrow, but unfortunately the trustees did not wish to listen. The relationship became one way where the committee decided it did not bear responsibility for understanding the sentiments of the community, for whom the mosque was built. They failed the community in their role as custodians of Harrow Mosque.

Friends of HCM have tried to call for discussion and mediation, but their efforts have been ignored and the committee refuses to allow mediation. The public campaign was only launched when the trustees of HCM closed all other doors.

Several issues came to light which affected the community. One was that HCM held their own events in the mosque, but when any other member tried to hold a community event, the charges were prohibitively high. These events were for the community such as children's Ramadan festivals, Ramadan holiday clubs and youth qiyams. Those community members then had to hold these events in local churches, thus depriving children of the opportunity to use their own mosque and benefit from it. This was clearly double standards from the committee. Details of this are here: http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/one-rule-
for-themselves-anoth
er-for-the-community


Another issue that crept up time and again was the banning of long running sister's circles and actually throwing out ladies from the mosque. The management also tried to block another sisters circle but had to retreat when the sisters expressed their intentions of publicising the injustice.
These ladies then complained to the management who did not respond. Details of their correspondence with the Mosque trustee are here : http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/banning-o
f-sisters-circle-the
-truth

Members of the community also left reviews of their experiences, included being physically kicked out at no provocation, at HCM on the Harrow Mosque Facebook page which were then deleted and users blocked. Details are here.http://blog.sav
eyourmasjid.com/shar
ed-experiences

Friends of HCM are against disunity and disruption and wish to address these problems as fairly as possibly, and their actions are solely for the benefit of the community. There is no political agenda; the intention is to open the mosque for the entire Harrow community irrespective of creed or culture and make it a hub for not only learning but children's activities, youth and community center, and a place to people to engage with the wider community.

To this end, their wishes are simple and clear.

Free, fair and impartial elections are the rights of the community. As per a petition signed by 500+ people, the membership fee must revert to £5, and 90 days period must be given for people to register for membership. Additionally, all registered memberships must be verified and free memberships declared.

These are fair demands of the community, and we pray the Trustees of our Mosque HCM will accept them for the betterment and peace of our entire community.
Thank you for your comment, and Eid Mubarak to you too. As a member of the community, I have been a visitor to this Mosque and other Mosques, attending events and circles and meeting the wonderful Harrow community. However, speaking as someone who has tried to engage with the committee, there are a number of points which I would like to disagree with. I agree that disunity is not beneficial, and as a community it is in our interest to work together to strengthen our goals. However, none of this would have happened had our initial requests for meetings and discussion had been met. The Friends of HCM had tried, on many occasions, tried to engage with the committee and raise issues that were pertinent to the community. Some members of the Friends of HCM have worked with HCM in the past too and helped them in fundraising etc so it was disappointing that when they tried to bring to light issues that were dividing the community, the committee at HCM refused to engage. Details of efforts are highlighted here. http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/fohcm-eng agement-with-hcm-bac kground Unfortunately, due the committee unwilling to listen to what the communities needs were, or what they had to say, then the trustees discharged their own responsibilities and forced matters to come to light. The issue was not addressed when it was raised. Friends of HCM fully believe in harmonious relationship and unity and to this end have tried repeatedly to engage with the trustees to include the entire community of Harrow, but unfortunately the trustees did not wish to listen. The relationship became one way where the committee decided it did not bear responsibility for understanding the sentiments of the community, for whom the mosque was built. They failed the community in their role as custodians of Harrow Mosque. Friends of HCM have tried to call for discussion and mediation, but their efforts have been ignored and the committee refuses to allow mediation. The public campaign was only launched when the trustees of HCM closed all other doors. Several issues came to light which affected the community. One was that HCM held their own events in the mosque, but when any other member tried to hold a community event, the charges were prohibitively high. These events were for the community such as children's Ramadan festivals, Ramadan holiday clubs and youth qiyams. Those community members then had to hold these events in local churches, thus depriving children of the opportunity to use their own mosque and benefit from it. This was clearly double standards from the committee. Details of this are here: http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/one-rule- for-themselves-anoth er-for-the-community Another issue that crept up time and again was the banning of long running sister's circles and actually throwing out ladies from the mosque. The management also tried to block another sisters circle but had to retreat when the sisters expressed their intentions of publicising the injustice. These ladies then complained to the management who did not respond. Details of their correspondence with the Mosque trustee are here : http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/banning-o f-sisters-circle-the -truth Members of the community also left reviews of their experiences, included being physically kicked out at no provocation, at HCM on the Harrow Mosque Facebook page which were then deleted and users blocked. Details are here.http://blog.sav eyourmasjid.com/shar ed-experiences Friends of HCM are against disunity and disruption and wish to address these problems as fairly as possibly, and their actions are solely for the benefit of the community. There is no political agenda; the intention is to open the mosque for the entire Harrow community irrespective of creed or culture and make it a hub for not only learning but children's activities, youth and community center, and a place to people to engage with the wider community. To this end, their wishes are simple and clear. Free, fair and impartial elections are the rights of the community. As per a petition signed by 500+ people, the membership fee must revert to £5, and 90 days period must be given for people to register for membership. Additionally, all registered memberships must be verified and free memberships declared. These are fair demands of the community, and we pray the Trustees of our Mosque HCM will accept them for the betterment and peace of our entire community. bushraanwar
  • Score: 60

2:57pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

It seems there are under-currents which need addressing rather sensitively.I cannot comment on the matters stated by you,since I have no first-hand knowledge of these issues.

It is re-assuring to hear that UNITY is important to you as well.

I am really sorry that you feel pushed to make these issues public.Even now,it might be much better if you could somehow arrange a face-to-face meeting with the HCM Commitee /Trustees and manage to reach an amicable settlement in this House of Worship.
It seems there are under-currents which need addressing rather sensitively.I cannot comment on the matters stated by you,since I have no first-hand knowledge of these issues. It is re-assuring to hear that UNITY is important to you as well. I am really sorry that you feel pushed to make these issues public.Even now,it might be much better if you could somehow arrange a face-to-face meeting with the HCM Commitee /Trustees and manage to reach an amicable settlement in this House of Worship. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -23

4:52pm Fri 1 Aug 14

bushraanwar says...

Thank you for your response Sonoo. Absolutely, unity and cohesiveness is of utmost importance to us. To this end, we had tried and tried again to approach the trustees privately to address our concerns but without luck. We also recently offered mediation, but this was met with no response.

Details of the mediation are here:
http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/fohcm-wel
comes-mediation

It would be wonderful if we could manage a public meeting with the HCM committee and let both sides be heard, and hopefully reach a solution. If anyone can assist in setting this meeting up, it would be very welcome. It is only with peace and mutual respect that we can move forward.
Thank you for your response Sonoo. Absolutely, unity and cohesiveness is of utmost importance to us. To this end, we had tried and tried again to approach the trustees privately to address our concerns but without luck. We also recently offered mediation, but this was met with no response. Details of the mediation are here: http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/fohcm-wel comes-mediation It would be wonderful if we could manage a public meeting with the HCM committee and let both sides be heard, and hopefully reach a solution. If anyone can assist in setting this meeting up, it would be very welcome. It is only with peace and mutual respect that we can move forward. bushraanwar
  • Score: 41

5:24pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Kamal Khan says...

Harrow Central Mosque has sadly in the last 3 years had not a single meeting or public consultation. There is a very lengthy list of complaints against this current committee. There has been one public consultation on building works only and nothing on free and fair access for all Muslims and non-Muslims to HCM. The mosque has refused a monthly public surgery. The office is hardly manned. When manned no trustee is available to speak to .

The Chairman Irfan rarely if ever speaks or engages with the public. The lawyer Rizwan Mirza who is good at making things difficult for the community is the public face.

On top of that, restrictive measures have been placed in a new 6 page membership policy by trustees designed to restrict freedom of choice on mosque matters. This includes the increase in fee from £5 to £20 despite a 500+ people petition, free memberships to those that HCM favour, this free membership option is not available to everyone. HCM have refused to respond to question about who is eligible for free membership.

Muslims are having to use Churches and halls owned by our Hindu and Jewish brothers and sisters as Harrow Mosque control restricts us all unless you are a cult member or belong to a particular extreme sect.


One of the most serious unconstitutional changes to the Harrow mosque membership policy is a 28 day announcement for elections yet membership processing time is 31 days . This is designed to prevent people registering to have a say at time of elections.


We hope HCM and Friends of Harrow Mosque can sort this mess out with some mediation in a Public meeting. HCM is hiding behind false excuses not to engage,Let the truth be known.

Harrow mosque who is cult leader Peer Nisar and why have you not responded to this question? He is not a Shaykh so don't try that one, we are not illiterate people from a back home village.
Harrow Central Mosque has sadly in the last 3 years had not a single meeting or public consultation. There is a very lengthy list of complaints against this current committee. There has been one public consultation on building works only and nothing on free and fair access for all Muslims and non-Muslims to HCM. The mosque has refused a monthly public surgery. The office is hardly manned. When manned no trustee is available to speak to . The Chairman Irfan rarely if ever speaks or engages with the public. The lawyer Rizwan Mirza who is good at making things difficult for the community is the public face. On top of that, restrictive measures have been placed in a new 6 page membership policy by trustees designed to restrict freedom of choice on mosque matters. This includes the increase in fee from £5 to £20 despite a 500+ people petition, free memberships to those that HCM favour, this free membership option is not available to everyone. HCM have refused to respond to question about who is eligible for free membership. Muslims are having to use Churches and halls owned by our Hindu and Jewish brothers and sisters as Harrow Mosque control restricts us all unless you are a cult member or belong to a particular extreme sect. One of the most serious unconstitutional changes to the Harrow mosque membership policy is a 28 day announcement for elections yet membership processing time is 31 days . This is designed to prevent people registering to have a say at time of elections. We hope HCM and Friends of Harrow Mosque can sort this mess out with some mediation in a Public meeting. HCM is hiding behind false excuses not to engage,Let the truth be known. Harrow mosque who is cult leader Peer Nisar and why have you not responded to this question? He is not a Shaykh so don't try that one, we are not illiterate people from a back home village. Kamal Khan
  • Score: 10

9:13am Sat 2 Aug 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

It's obvious that there are many sensitive issues at play here.Sincere prayers and good wishes that a sensible way forward is found sooner rather than later to address these concerns.One can sense resentment building which is not healthy for the community.

I humbly urge well-wishers of HCM and those on the" inner circle "who have any influence in the internal workings of this important place of worship to put their heads together as soon as possible ,and prevent escalation of the anger and upset which seems to be brewing.

Best to meet and clear the air rather than throw the baby out with the bath water.Let us not forget we are speaking about highly emotive matters regarding this iconic place of worship.

Wish you all the very best and pray that a peaceful solution is reached soon.
It's obvious that there are many sensitive issues at play here.Sincere prayers and good wishes that a sensible way forward is found sooner rather than later to address these concerns.One can sense resentment building which is not healthy for the community. I humbly urge well-wishers of HCM and those on the" inner circle "who have any influence in the internal workings of this important place of worship to put their heads together as soon as possible ,and prevent escalation of the anger and upset which seems to be brewing. Best to meet and clear the air rather than throw the baby out with the bath water.Let us not forget we are speaking about highly emotive matters regarding this iconic place of worship. Wish you all the very best and pray that a peaceful solution is reached soon. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: 14

11:12am Sat 2 Aug 14

ZainSalah says...

Dear Respected Elders, Brothers and Sisters,

Assalam u’Alaykum

We, have set ourselves up under the banner of ‘Protect Your Masjid’ to counter the campaign started by the group ‘Friends of Harrow Central Mosque’ (FoHCM) and to bring some balance and honesty to the information being spread in the community.

This letter brings to light the achievements and the progression that Harrow Central Mosque (HCM) has accomplished.

Unfortunately, recently FoHCM who have been campaigning using the slogan ‘Save Your Masjid’ have been causing fitna and spreading propaganda against our mosque. This has been extremely upsetting and displeasing to many members of the community, who know that the trustees who have all been democratically elected by the Harrow community are doing their utmost to serve our mosque. It is obvious those promoting the ‘Save Your Masjid’ campaign are attempting to take power over our mosque. We will not allow such troublemakers to take over and damage the reputation and the running of our beloved mosque.

Islamic Education and Support

Harrow Central Mosque has opened new opportunities across all age groups and genders of Harrow’s community. HCM has:

 ✓ Launched Lar
ayb Institute for Education (LIfE) – developing a vision for educating the community and received affiliation with Jamia Al-Karam (A Muslim boys boarding secondary school and also an Islamic Studies College in Nottinghamshire)

✓ Appointed Shaykh Imam Iftikhar Daad al-Azhari,Head of Education, an experienced teacher, Imam and graduate of Al Azhar University in Egypt

✓  Appointed Shaykh Rahim St. John as Head of Larayb Institute for Education

✓  Appointed Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said as‘Scholar in Residence’. Shaykh Faid has many scientific researches in Islamic studies, Arabic language and carried out many lectures/conferences worldwide

✓  Initiated free weekly beginners’ and intermediate Adult Qur’an classes for both brothers and sisters

✓  Arranged free weekly Qur’anic Tafsir, Fiqh and Hadith classes for both brothers and sisters

✓  Introduced free Tajweed, Tafsir, Seerah, Stories of the Prophets (A.S.) and rules of Salah classesfor all sisters

✓  Held regular gatherings for sisters including Dhikr, Salat-ul-Tasbeeh and Nasheed events which have been attended by world renowned nasheed artist from QTV, Sister Huria Faheem Sahuba

✓  Provided free Ghusl training to sisters

✓  Seen the first two Hafiz’ of the Qur’an graduate from the Madrassa for the first time in the history of HCM over its thirty years of existence, with another twelve in line for the upcoming years

✓  Launched programmes to help assist New Muslims (reverts), the spreading the word of Islam, its virtues and its beliefs

✓  Became the first and only Mosque in London to be Fair-Trade certificated

Supporting the local Muslim community

Harrow Central Mosque has engaged in the following initiatives and events which aim to “serve the needs of the diverse local Muslim community and build relations with the wider non-Muslim community”

✓  Harrow Central Mosque has attracted high calibre, internationally renowned Muslim guest speakersfrom all over the world

✓  Introduced sign language Adhan for Jumu’ah and lectures to welcome and accommodate the deaf community

✓  Helped raise over seven tonnes of food over two years for Sufra Food Bank, providing food for under privileged families

✓  Launched Harrow Seniors’ Forum for the respected elders. This helps the elderly with welfare benefits, money matters, housing issues, care homes, health concerns, pensions, leisure and social activities and other issues impacting one’s life. HCM also organised community health talks and provided diabetes screenings

✓  Advanced the HCM Youth Club with regular weekly activities providing a centre for youth of the community

✓  HCM has provided academic support for children by establishing a Saturday school teaching Maths and English at Key Stage 3 level to young children

✓  Arranged MP surgeries for the local community

✓  Hosted one of the largest I’tikaf gatherings in the UK (over 170 in 2 years, with another 70-80 who attended this Ramadan 2014)

✓  HCM held three annual public Iftar eventsinviting different faith groups, local councillors and government officials. One of which was attended by the Egyptian Olympic team in 2012

✓  Working closely with local authorities such as the local Council and Metropolitan Police to provide asafe and stable community

Building Development, Finances and Transparency

To create accountability and effective governance Harrow Central Mosque has:

✓  Recruited an Operations Manager, Nadeem Farooqi, bringing over 30 years’ experience in building/facilities management

✓  Campaigned to reduce the building costs debton the Mosque from £895k in Ramadan 2012 to £560k at the beginning of Ramadan 2014 with an aim of being debt free in 2014 – and now with over £160,000 raised over Ramadan reducing the debt to under £400,000.

✓  Published very detailed accounts online at www.charitycommissio
n.gov.uk

✓  Sent out regular mail shots, public announcements and launched the mosque newsletters which has further increased transparency by providing regular updates on the mosque and the activities taking place within it

These are only a handful of the achievements that Harrow Central Mosque has accomplished and this clearly shows that the Mosque has opened its doors to the entire community and has set a foundation for the future.

In light of the above, we know that the mosque is being run by capable hands. There is a tremendous amount of effort and time being put into this mosque from all of its staff members and the wider community. It is fair to say that there is still more work to be done. However,we need to be reminded that this work can only be achieved if we all come together. This mosque is here to serve us, so it is paramountthat we work together – united.

Anyone that attacks this Mosque is attacking this community, for it is the community who have come together to build this Mosque. So please, protect and support Your Masjid.

We pray that all those brothers and sisters who have given their valuable time in helping and have contributed towards our mosque are rewarded for their efforts. Please keep us, the Harrow community and the Muslim Ummah in your Duas.

Wa’l-salaamu ‘alayka


Web: www.protectyourmasji
d.com
Email: protectyourmasjid@gm
ail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/protect
yourmasjid
Twitter: twitter.com/protectu
rmasjid
Instagram: instagram.com/protec
tyourmasjid
Dear Respected Elders, Brothers and Sisters, Assalam u’Alaykum We, have set ourselves up under the banner of ‘Protect Your Masjid’ to counter the campaign started by the group ‘Friends of Harrow Central Mosque’ (FoHCM) and to bring some balance and honesty to the information being spread in the community. This letter brings to light the achievements and the progression that Harrow Central Mosque (HCM) has accomplished. Unfortunately, recently FoHCM who have been campaigning using the slogan ‘Save Your Masjid’ have been causing fitna and spreading propaganda against our mosque. This has been extremely upsetting and displeasing to many members of the community, who know that the trustees who have all been democratically elected by the Harrow community are doing their utmost to serve our mosque. It is obvious those promoting the ‘Save Your Masjid’ campaign are attempting to take power over our mosque. We will not allow such troublemakers to take over and damage the reputation and the running of our beloved mosque. Islamic Education and Support Harrow Central Mosque has opened new opportunities across all age groups and genders of Harrow’s community. HCM has:  ✓ Launched Lar ayb Institute for Education (LIfE) – developing a vision for educating the community and received affiliation with Jamia Al-Karam (A Muslim boys boarding secondary school and also an Islamic Studies College in Nottinghamshire) ✓ Appointed Shaykh Imam Iftikhar Daad al-Azhari,Head of Education, an experienced teacher, Imam and graduate of Al Azhar University in Egypt ✓  Appointed Shaykh Rahim St. John as Head of Larayb Institute for Education ✓  Appointed Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said as‘Scholar in Residence’. Shaykh Faid has many scientific researches in Islamic studies, Arabic language and carried out many lectures/conferences worldwide ✓  Initiated free weekly beginners’ and intermediate Adult Qur’an classes for both brothers and sisters ✓  Arranged free weekly Qur’anic Tafsir, Fiqh and Hadith classes for both brothers and sisters ✓  Introduced free Tajweed, Tafsir, Seerah, Stories of the Prophets (A.S.) and rules of Salah classesfor all sisters ✓  Held regular gatherings for sisters including Dhikr, Salat-ul-Tasbeeh and Nasheed events which have been attended by world renowned nasheed artist from QTV, Sister Huria Faheem Sahuba ✓  Provided free Ghusl training to sisters ✓  Seen the first two Hafiz’ of the Qur’an graduate from the Madrassa for the first time in the history of HCM over its thirty years of existence, with another twelve in line for the upcoming years ✓  Launched programmes to help assist New Muslims (reverts), the spreading the word of Islam, its virtues and its beliefs ✓  Became the first and only Mosque in London to be Fair-Trade certificated Supporting the local Muslim community Harrow Central Mosque has engaged in the following initiatives and events which aim to “serve the needs of the diverse local Muslim community and build relations with the wider non-Muslim community” ✓  Harrow Central Mosque has attracted high calibre, internationally renowned Muslim guest speakersfrom all over the world ✓  Introduced sign language Adhan for Jumu’ah and lectures to welcome and accommodate the deaf community ✓  Helped raise over seven tonnes of food over two years for Sufra Food Bank, providing food for under privileged families ✓  Launched Harrow Seniors’ Forum for the respected elders. This helps the elderly with welfare benefits, money matters, housing issues, care homes, health concerns, pensions, leisure and social activities and other issues impacting one’s life. HCM also organised community health talks and provided diabetes screenings ✓  Advanced the HCM Youth Club with regular weekly activities providing a centre for youth of the community ✓  HCM has provided academic support for children by establishing a Saturday school teaching Maths and English at Key Stage 3 level to young children ✓  Arranged MP surgeries for the local community ✓  Hosted one of the largest I’tikaf gatherings in the UK (over 170 in 2 years, with another 70-80 who attended this Ramadan 2014) ✓  HCM held three annual public Iftar eventsinviting different faith groups, local councillors and government officials. One of which was attended by the Egyptian Olympic team in 2012 ✓  Working closely with local authorities such as the local Council and Metropolitan Police to provide asafe and stable community Building Development, Finances and Transparency To create accountability and effective governance Harrow Central Mosque has: ✓  Recruited an Operations Manager, Nadeem Farooqi, bringing over 30 years’ experience in building/facilities management ✓  Campaigned to reduce the building costs debton the Mosque from £895k in Ramadan 2012 to £560k at the beginning of Ramadan 2014 with an aim of being debt free in 2014 – and now with over £160,000 raised over Ramadan reducing the debt to under £400,000. ✓  Published very detailed accounts online at www.charitycommissio n.gov.uk ✓  Sent out regular mail shots, public announcements and launched the mosque newsletters which has further increased transparency by providing regular updates on the mosque and the activities taking place within it These are only a handful of the achievements that Harrow Central Mosque has accomplished and this clearly shows that the Mosque has opened its doors to the entire community and has set a foundation for the future. In light of the above, we know that the mosque is being run by capable hands. There is a tremendous amount of effort and time being put into this mosque from all of its staff members and the wider community. It is fair to say that there is still more work to be done. However,we need to be reminded that this work can only be achieved if we all come together. This mosque is here to serve us, so it is paramountthat we work together – united. Anyone that attacks this Mosque is attacking this community, for it is the community who have come together to build this Mosque. So please, protect and support Your Masjid. We pray that all those brothers and sisters who have given their valuable time in helping and have contributed towards our mosque are rewarded for their efforts. Please keep us, the Harrow community and the Muslim Ummah in your Duas. Wa’l-salaamu ‘alayka Web: www.protectyourmasji d.com Email: protectyourmasjid@gm ail.com Facebook: facebook.com/protect yourmasjid Twitter: twitter.com/protectu rmasjid Instagram: instagram.com/protec tyourmasjid ZainSalah
  • Score: -41

6:13pm Sat 2 Aug 14

HamzaSaghir says...

Dear Sonoo,

Community cohesion is the bedrock of a progressive society. We as British Muslims need to be at the heart of our communities to play that role.

In order to do this, yes, we need to present a unified approach and the local Islamic centre should be at the forefront. Their responsibility is two fold:

1) Serve the Muslim community
2) Reach out to the wider society

It is commendable that the Mosque has organised various events to engage the wider community through community Iftars on a yearly basis and participating in the Harrow borough Fair trade campaign.

Moreover, operational efficiencies addressed during their tenure is praise worthy and Credit is due for their efforts in this regard.

However, overall success is defined by how well they have served the functional needs of the Muslim community and ensured the diversity within the Muslim community as expressed in different schools of thoughts has been addressed by making the centre a place for all to congregate and call their 2nd home (some would argue their 1st).

Charity commission under ‘The Hallmarks of an Effective Charity’ guidance have advised:

Section D4. Hallmark 4: Learning and Improving:

“welcomes and acts upon feedback (positive as well as challenging) from its beneficiaries and other people with an interest in the charity about the services it provides and the areas where improvements could be made”

Section D6. Hallmark 6: Accountable and transparent

“has well-publicised, effective and timely procedures for dealing with complaints about the charity and its activities. These should explain how complaints and appeals can be made, and give details of the process and likely timescales”

“can show how it involves beneficiaries and service users in the development and improvement of its services; the contribution may have been by way of the appointment of beneficiaries as trustees or their involvement through discussion, consultation or user group input”

Above guidance is quite explicit that the trustees have a judicious duty to engage with any complaints raised by members of the charity and the wider community it is serving. The existing trustees of HCM have had ample opportunity over the past two years to address matters in private but chose not to; they held meetings with FoHCM but did not address any of the concerns. Thus, fundamentally going against the standards and best practises outlined by the Charities Commission. Clear example of this is evident from the notice published by HCM and released on 01 August 2014:

“We received an inaccurate set of minutes which misrepresented what took place in that meeting and which we did not respond to”.

It is pertinent to note the minutes of the meeting were sent to the relevant trustees of HCM on 19 March 2014, 25 April 2014 and finally on 05 June 2014 giving them ample opportunity to rectify any mistakes or omissions. Full details available on:

http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/fohcm-fin
al-meeting-with-hcm


Additionally in the same letter of 01 August 2014, the trustees have claimed with regards to the Sisters’ complaint:

“We had been asked for instance to investigate a complaint from the sisters. We have now addressed this.” In their letter of 25 July 2014, the trustees advised “At last year’s AGM we were reminded of a complaint which occurred in March 2013. We apologised for note dealing with it. The General Secretary committed to addressing it personally, requesting the sister to leave her contact details. She did not leaver her details.” Again to claim they did not have the details when on 10 May 2013, Executive trustee, Khalid Rafiq acknowledged the email from the concerned sister and committed to revert, post full investigation. Sister to date has yet to receive an official response. Full details available on:

http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/banning-o
f-sisters-circle-the
-truth

Sonoo, I hope you can see a pattern here. I’ve known the trustees of the committee personally for nearly three years having participated with them in fund raising for the Masjid. We tried to address the matters privately, repeatedly without success. As a last resort, we had to launch a public social campaign (not political) for change as this centre is for all the community; and a centre is not just a place to offer prayers but much much more than that. It’s a shame that a pre-Ramadhan workshop had to be held in Victoria Hall in June 2014 instead of HCM (it’s far cheaper to hold events in other centres in Harrow than HCM). Full details available on:

http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/one-rule-
for-themselves-anoth
er-for-the-community


I’m in complete favour of mediation as well as Free, Fair and Impartial elections so the community can decide who they want to entrust their affairs to. Full details available on:

http://blog.saveyour
masjid.com/fohcm-wel
comes-mediation

To conclude we need to protect our Masjid from dismissive and non engaging policies of the current trustees.

PS…I was at the Association of Muslim Police Eid Dinner last year in Guildhall London, fantastic event. We should invite Commander Mak Chisti to a Harrow Eid event and I also look forward to meeting you in person to benefit from your vast experience in community relations.
Dear Sonoo, Community cohesion is the bedrock of a progressive society. We as British Muslims need to be at the heart of our communities to play that role. In order to do this, yes, we need to present a unified approach and the local Islamic centre should be at the forefront. Their responsibility is two fold: 1) Serve the Muslim community 2) Reach out to the wider society It is commendable that the Mosque has organised various events to engage the wider community through community Iftars on a yearly basis and participating in the Harrow borough Fair trade campaign. Moreover, operational efficiencies addressed during their tenure is praise worthy and Credit is due for their efforts in this regard. However, overall success is defined by how well they have served the functional needs of the Muslim community and ensured the diversity within the Muslim community as expressed in different schools of thoughts has been addressed by making the centre a place for all to congregate and call their 2nd home (some would argue their 1st). Charity commission under ‘The Hallmarks of an Effective Charity’ guidance have advised: Section D4. Hallmark 4: Learning and Improving: “welcomes and acts upon feedback (positive as well as challenging) from its beneficiaries and other people with an interest in the charity about the services it provides and the areas where improvements could be made” Section D6. Hallmark 6: Accountable and transparent “has well-publicised, effective and timely procedures for dealing with complaints about the charity and its activities. These should explain how complaints and appeals can be made, and give details of the process and likely timescales” “can show how it involves beneficiaries and service users in the development and improvement of its services; the contribution may have been by way of the appointment of beneficiaries as trustees or their involvement through discussion, consultation or user group input” Above guidance is quite explicit that the trustees have a judicious duty to engage with any complaints raised by members of the charity and the wider community it is serving. The existing trustees of HCM have had ample opportunity over the past two years to address matters in private but chose not to; they held meetings with FoHCM but did not address any of the concerns. Thus, fundamentally going against the standards and best practises outlined by the Charities Commission. Clear example of this is evident from the notice published by HCM and released on 01 August 2014: “We received an inaccurate set of minutes which misrepresented what took place in that meeting and which we did not respond to”. It is pertinent to note the minutes of the meeting were sent to the relevant trustees of HCM on 19 March 2014, 25 April 2014 and finally on 05 June 2014 giving them ample opportunity to rectify any mistakes or omissions. Full details available on: http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/fohcm-fin al-meeting-with-hcm Additionally in the same letter of 01 August 2014, the trustees have claimed with regards to the Sisters’ complaint: “We had been asked for instance to investigate a complaint from the sisters. We have now addressed this.” In their letter of 25 July 2014, the trustees advised “At last year’s AGM we were reminded of a complaint which occurred in March 2013. We apologised for note dealing with it. The General Secretary committed to addressing it personally, requesting the sister to leave her contact details. She did not leaver her details.” Again to claim they did not have the details when on 10 May 2013, Executive trustee, Khalid Rafiq acknowledged the email from the concerned sister and committed to revert, post full investigation. Sister to date has yet to receive an official response. Full details available on: http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/banning-o f-sisters-circle-the -truth Sonoo, I hope you can see a pattern here. I’ve known the trustees of the committee personally for nearly three years having participated with them in fund raising for the Masjid. We tried to address the matters privately, repeatedly without success. As a last resort, we had to launch a public social campaign (not political) for change as this centre is for all the community; and a centre is not just a place to offer prayers but much much more than that. It’s a shame that a pre-Ramadhan workshop had to be held in Victoria Hall in June 2014 instead of HCM (it’s far cheaper to hold events in other centres in Harrow than HCM). Full details available on: http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/one-rule- for-themselves-anoth er-for-the-community I’m in complete favour of mediation as well as Free, Fair and Impartial elections so the community can decide who they want to entrust their affairs to. Full details available on: http://blog.saveyour masjid.com/fohcm-wel comes-mediation To conclude we need to protect our Masjid from dismissive and non engaging policies of the current trustees. PS…I was at the Association of Muslim Police Eid Dinner last year in Guildhall London, fantastic event. We should invite Commander Mak Chisti to a Harrow Eid event and I also look forward to meeting you in person to benefit from your vast experience in community relations. HamzaSaghir
  • Score: 35

6:28pm Sat 2 Aug 14

HamzaSaghir says...

To move forward, demand is quite simple. Let the community decide through:

Free, Fair and Impartial Elections

90 Days grace period for people to register for membership (as per previous HCM elections' precedent)

Fee to revert to £5 as per the petition signed by 500 people (inability to pay the current membership fee of £20 should not deprive them of a right to vote)

Membership register to be independently verified; all free members and conflict of interests to be declared

Elections to be supervised by an independent and impartial body
To move forward, demand is quite simple. Let the community decide through: Free, Fair and Impartial Elections 90 Days grace period for people to register for membership (as per previous HCM elections' precedent) Fee to revert to £5 as per the petition signed by 500 people (inability to pay the current membership fee of £20 should not deprive them of a right to vote) Membership register to be independently verified; all free members and conflict of interests to be declared Elections to be supervised by an independent and impartial body HamzaSaghir
  • Score: 32

3:04pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

In an odd sort of way,it is a blessing in disguise,that we have heard from some disgruntled members in the Muslim community about their experience of Harrow Central Mosque,albeit voicing a number of concerns,as well as from ZainSalah,the representative of Harrow Central Mosque,giving us a snap-shot of some of their many achievements to date.

We have before us an exhaustive list of the many works conducted by the Trustees and committee members of HCM which are quite impressive.A lot of blood,sweat and tears has undoubtedly gone into expanding their remit to deliver and achieve a far broader,more inclusive vision of the works of HCM. One cannot detract from the efforts which have helped its considerable expansion thus far.

ZainSalah has modestly referred to this as a "handful of achievements".Therei
n lies another clue---so much more still needs to happen.To pave the way for this,there is an obvious need to "clear the air "allowing the free flow of energies.These will need to be generously poured into developing and helping the HCM flourish and blossom into the kind of place we can all be very proud of.

I hasten to add that I am no scholar or expert in matters concerning community relations ,although I have had the benefit and privilege of working alongside many with a great deal more experience than myself.It has been an enriching and awesome experience.

Makes one keenly aware how little one knows and how much more learning is needed.It is a huge challenge but extremely rewarding and a golden opportunity to help the whole community live in a friendly,peaceful manner.One cannot please all the people all the time!Something one learns to accept gradually.

From what has been written here one senses an urgent need for mediation,using the services of an experienced and unbiased senior member of the Muslim community.That is something for the HCM and the Friends of the Mosque to consider.

It's great that HCM is the first and only Mosque so far in England to be Fair-Trade certificated.They also help collect for our Food Banks.

British Muslims have every right to be properly represented and to work with the larger community to promote harmony.I humbly suggest you put grieviances/complain
ts aside and wait for the elections which are probably due this October.That is the right public forum to bring your concerns to the attention of your whole community and vote on thorny issues regarding membership and other matters.

HamzaSaghir,very pleased you attended the Eid celebration given by the Muslim Association of Police in Guildhall last year.I am sure we would love to invite Commander Mak Chisti to Harrow but would like to see our inhouse" family issues" ironed out first.First impressions count so let's make a great one,Insha allah.

Meanwhile,the Borough Commander of Harrow,Chief Superintendent,Simon Ovens,is regularly invited and engages with our the Harrow Central Mosque.

Hamza Saghir you have said what is needed to move forward is "Free,Fair,Impartial Elections ".I am sure this will be held in the normal way and wish you every success in settling all these issues as responsible,peace loving members of the Muslim community.
In an odd sort of way,it is a blessing in disguise,that we have heard from some disgruntled members in the Muslim community about their experience of Harrow Central Mosque,albeit voicing a number of concerns,as well as from ZainSalah,the representative of Harrow Central Mosque,giving us a snap-shot of some of their many achievements to date. We have before us an exhaustive list of the many works conducted by the Trustees and committee members of HCM which are quite impressive.A lot of blood,sweat and tears has undoubtedly gone into expanding their remit to deliver and achieve a far broader,more inclusive vision of the works of HCM. One cannot detract from the efforts which have helped its considerable expansion thus far. ZainSalah has modestly referred to this as a "handful of achievements".Therei n lies another clue---so much more still needs to happen.To pave the way for this,there is an obvious need to "clear the air "allowing the free flow of energies.These will need to be generously poured into developing and helping the HCM flourish and blossom into the kind of place we can all be very proud of. I hasten to add that I am no scholar or expert in matters concerning community relations ,although I have had the benefit and privilege of working alongside many with a great deal more experience than myself.It has been an enriching and awesome experience. Makes one keenly aware how little one knows and how much more learning is needed.It is a huge challenge but extremely rewarding and a golden opportunity to help the whole community live in a friendly,peaceful manner.One cannot please all the people all the time!Something one learns to accept gradually. From what has been written here one senses an urgent need for mediation,using the services of an experienced and unbiased senior member of the Muslim community.That is something for the HCM and the Friends of the Mosque to consider. It's great that HCM is the first and only Mosque so far in England to be Fair-Trade certificated.They also help collect for our Food Banks. British Muslims have every right to be properly represented and to work with the larger community to promote harmony.I humbly suggest you put grieviances/complain ts aside and wait for the elections which are probably due this October.That is the right public forum to bring your concerns to the attention of your whole community and vote on thorny issues regarding membership and other matters. HamzaSaghir,very pleased you attended the Eid celebration given by the Muslim Association of Police in Guildhall last year.I am sure we would love to invite Commander Mak Chisti to Harrow but would like to see our inhouse" family issues" ironed out first.First impressions count so let's make a great one,Insha allah. Meanwhile,the Borough Commander of Harrow,Chief Superintendent,Simon Ovens,is regularly invited and engages with our the Harrow Central Mosque. Hamza Saghir you have said what is needed to move forward is "Free,Fair,Impartial Elections ".I am sure this will be held in the normal way and wish you every success in settling all these issues as responsible,peace loving members of the Muslim community. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: 3

12:06am Wed 6 Aug 14

ZainSalah says...

Regards the elections, "of course" there will be due process. The conditions Hamza Saghir is setting out are a given (save for the membership fee reduction - he needs to incentivise people to become members). To scream about the fear the mosque will not follow due process is farcical. No doubt once details on forthcoming elections are announced, this troublesome group, will claim a success??!! Their usual tactics. Very juvenile. We are getting fed up with all this. Unfortunately all communities have these fringe groups who mud-sling
Regards the elections, "of course" there will be due process. The conditions Hamza Saghir is setting out are a given (save for the membership fee reduction - he needs to incentivise people to become members). To scream about the fear the mosque will not follow due process is farcical. No doubt once details on forthcoming elections are announced, this troublesome group, will claim a success??!! Their usual tactics. Very juvenile. We are getting fed up with all this. Unfortunately all communities have these fringe groups who mud-sling ZainSalah
  • Score: 7

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