Manchester Central Mosque (MCM) has a communal and tolerant outward appearance. High ranking police representatives frequent the place during Islamic holidays, after the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert the Mosque held a vigil and affirmed its dedication to harmonious coexistence, and after the attack on London’s Finsbury mosque, it called for an end to “all forms of extremism“.
Why then, did at least eight Islamic reciters from Pakistan, known for praising Pakistani terrorist Mumtaz Qadri, kick off their European tours there last saturday, with MCM’s imam Javed Akhtar serving as their local agent and fixer? And it’s not the first time either. They have been inviting preachers and reciters who have praised terrorist Qadri ever since he on 4 January 2011 assassinated Pakistani governor Salmaan Taseer, who spoke against enstating blasphemy laws.
This year’s annual festivity, called Mehfil e Naat, is the 23rd edition. During last year’s 22nd edition, MCM even invited a Pakistani preacher, Muzaffar Shah Qadri, who is not even allowed to preach in Pakistan.
Just so you can make up your own mind about MCM, we constructed a timeline below.
22 May 2017: At 22:31, Islamic terrorist Salman Ramadan Abedi detonates an improvised explosive device after an Ariana Grande concert in the foyer area of the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people dead, including children and adolescents. Greater Manchester Police declared the suicide attack an act of terrorism.
— Jamia Al-Karam (@JamiaAlKaram) May 25, 2017
26 May 2017: Greater Manchester Police Superintendent David Pester attends Friday prayers at the Central Manchester Mosque, during which he addresses the congregation on behalf of the Chief Inspector, assuring them that hate crimes against the Muslim community not be tolerated by the police.
The man standing next to him is Javed Akhtar, another imam of the Central Mosque and also Chairman of the International Naat Association, responsible for organising 18 November’s event.
Supt David Pester visits both the Central Manchester Mosque in Rusholme and the Al Furqan Islamic Centre. Credit Getty Images. pic.twitter.com/wrCNJL0AcD
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 26, 2017
Superintendent David Pester is accompanied by ‘reassurance patrols’ from the Greater Manchester Police:
— GMP Longsight (@GMPLongsight) May 26, 2017
But in spite of the Manchester Central Mosque’s tolerant and communal outward appearance, exactly one year earlier, on Friday, 27 May, 2016, Pakistani mufti Ramzan Sialvi, who kissed Pakistani Islamic terrorist Mumtaz Qadri on the forehead during his funeral and proudly shared photos of this on social media, delivered its Friday sermon:
— SheikhWatch™ (@SheikhWatch) May 26, 2016
Fast forward again, to 16 June 2017, when again Superintendent David Pester attends the iftar ( ‘breakfast’ during Ramadan) and addresses the congregation at Manchester Central Mosque:
— GMP Longsight (@GMPLongsight) June 16, 2017
Ironically, on 19 June 2017, Manchester Central Mosque staged an anti-hate vigil in the wake of the Finsbury mosque attack in London, calling for an end to all forms of extremism. Both MCM’s imams Irfan Chishti and Javed Akhtar are attending.
Update (26 November): Chairmen of the International Naat Association Mian Tahir Naeem and Javed Akhtar address “those who have nothing else to do apart from criticism on Social Media & Whatsapp!” amidst chanting Pakistani terrorist glorifiers during the 18 November 2017 event in MCM: