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‘How we strive to make Keighley better’
A Keighley mosque found itself at the centre of a government programme to counter people’s stereotypical views of different religions.
Faith and Communities Minister Baroness Warsi visited the Ahmadiyya mosque on the corner of Long Croft to promote a campaign to counterbalance popular fixation on differences between religious practices and cultures by highlighting the many similarities.
“When people talk about differences, they always focus on visual differences – such as the wearing of the veil,” she said.
“However, an example of what I’m talking about is the 100th anniversary of the First World War, which some people think of as just being a white people’s war, but it involved many soldiers from all the Commonwealth countries, something which will be emphasised next year.”
Mosque president Dr Aziz Hafiz was also keen to stress that issues facing Keighley and Britain concerned every branch and type of religion. “It is a sworn article of faith for every Muslim to respect the laws and governments of whatever country they are living in,” Dr Hafiz said.
Baroness Warsi said: “I know Keighley very well as I once worked here as a criminal defence solicitor and my family had friends here who we would visit.
“What are the things concerning you in Keighley and what can the Government do to help?” she asked.
Dr Hafiz said one of the tenets of Ahmadiyya philosophy was to always work for the surrounding community. “If we see litter on the street, we pick it up. We sell Remembrance poppies and raise money for Manorlands,” he said.
“We believe we are very lucky to live here and will do everything in our lives to try and make Keighley a better place.”
Dr Hafiz said many of the problems facing Keighley and society in general did not stem from religions themselves, but rather from a lack of good moral behaviour.
Fatima Rehman, president of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association, said: “All our members greatly appreciated the opportunity to voice their hopes and aspirations for Keighley.
“Both Baroness Warsi and Kris Hopkins, MP, were keen to take on board our suggestions, offering us their full support regarding the charity and community projects we are working on.
“They asked about what can be done to improve the local area and we stressed the important role that individual social responsibility can play in helping to make Keighley an even greater place to live.”
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