CAIRO – A tea party held at Bristol Jamia mosque has attracted hundreds of people who queued to offer support to the Muslim community following a bacon attack on the worshiping house.
“We are overwhelmed by the support of the Totterdown and wider Bristol community,” Zaheer Shabir, a spokesperson for the mosque, told Bristol Post.
“Seven days ago we suffered a very cruel and cowardly attack, but from that act of hate has come an incredible celebration of love and togetherness.
Shabir talked as hundreds of people of all ages, backgrounds and religions joined forces at the Bristol Jamia mosque in Totterdown on Sunday, January 24.
Answering calls to attend a tea party at the mosque, visitors packed in to the building and spilled out on to the street keen to share messages of support and tuck in to homemade tea, coffee, cake and samosas.
“The outpouring of support here shows that as a whole we are a united community and it is only a minority who have a hateful agenda,” Shabir said.
“The incredible experience here today will be remembered and cherished in the hearts of everyone, it is a very special moment.”
The protest of love and support followed an attack on Bristol Jamia mosque on Monday after a racist gang left pork meat and a flag bearing the St George cross outside the worshipping house.
Avon and Somerset Police have arrested a 34-year-old man in connection with the hate crime.
The event offered many non-Muslims an opportunity to enter a mosque for the first time in their life.
“It is an incredible turn out. I came here just to support the community and show our solidarity,” Eric Green said.
“Also to stand up to the principal that we do not give in to hate and violence. People should be free to believe in whatever they want without fear of retribution or violence.”
Bristol Mayor George Ferguson was also in attendance.
“It is great to see the event so well supported. As I said last week, any attack on any religion or group in the city is an attack on Bristol as a whole, and we will not stand for it,” he said.
The show of unity was praised by many worshipers at the mosque as heart-warming.
“It is amazing how something so wonderful can come from something so awful,” Rabia, 28, said.
“I think sometimes people think Islam is about ISIS and terrorists because of what is in the news, but we are so peaceful and they don’t see how the majority of us are day to day.
“This event has also encouraged people to start talking, and we are striking up conversations with neighbors who we have never spoken to before.”