Leaders at Hartlepool mosque where trip was cancelled say it is a '˜safe place'
Leaders at a Hartlepool mosque say that all are welcome to come and visit in safety after parents of children due to go on a school visit cancelled the trip.
A group of youngsters from a County Durham school were due to visit Nasir Mosque in the town this month.
But after recent terrorist killings in Manchester and London, the scheduled trip to the place of worship, in Brougham Terrace, was cancelled.
The school itself had no concerns but parental consent was needed for the visit to go ahead, with some parents reported as saying they feared for their children.
Now, Bilal Atkinson, who is the regional president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK which runs the mosque, has told the Mail that anyone visiting the site is welcome and that parents have nothing to fear from their children going there.
“We have had over 13,500 children visit the mosque since we opened 12 years ago,” said Mr Atkinson.
“There have been no complaints during that whole time.
“Nearly all of the senior police officers, MPs, mayors and other councillors have visited as well.
“It’s a safe place.”
Mr Atkinson added that leaders at the mosque will continue to open its doors to people of all faiths.
“The mosque is always open,” he added.
“We had an inter-faith day here very recently and no one said they were frightened or worried.
“I think the issue with this visit has built up and built up, but it’s not right.
“Pupils from that particular school had been here before and I’ve been to that school myself to talk, so we’ve had good relations.
“Nearly every school in Hartlepool has been to this mosque on a visit others from as far as even Whitby.
“We’ve also got some visits in the pipeline and not one of them have been cancelled.”
The Nasir Mosque was the first purpose-built mosque in Hartlepool and opened in 2005.
It was built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The venue has held a number of events in recent years where visitors could chat to local Muslim leaders to promote better understanding of the religion.
Tahir Selby, Imam of the mosque, described the recent Manchester Arena terror attack by a suicide bomber as “barbaric” and added that it had nothing to do with Islam or religion.
Mr Selby said: “This was shocking and our deepest sympathy goes out to all the innocent victims of this terrible attack.”
Islamic state later claimed responsibility for the attack.