Mayor calls for greater understanding of Muslim communities

4 September 2009

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has called for greater tolerance and understanding of Islam and Muslim communities during a visit to the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre today.  He said that harmony and cohesion between all Londoners is vital to the success of the capital. 

The Mayor’s message, which comes during the Muslim sacred month of Ramadan, is that there is more that unites Islam and Muslims with other major world religions and with non-Muslims than divides or separates them.  In common with many other religions, such as Christianity, Islam teaches that there is only one true God.  There are also shared beliefs about societal values and a basic moral code of behaviour.

Boris Johnson said:

‘Muslims are at the heart of every aspect of society.  Their contribution is something that all Londoners benefit from.  Muslim police officers, doctors, scientists and teachers are an essential part of the fabric of London.  Islamic finance is contributing to the economy by changing the way Londoners invest, save, borrow and spend. 

‘London’s diversity and tolerance is the reason for our economic success, international position and cultural vibrancy.   It is also the reason why over 600,000 Muslims have chosen to make this city their home.  There are valuable lessons that people of all backgrounds can learn from Islam such as the importance of community spirit, family ties, compassion and helping those less fortunate, all of which lie at the heart of the teachings of Ramadan.’

The Mayor went on to say:

‘Whether it’s in theatre, comedy, sports, music or politics, Muslims are challenging the traditional stereotypes and showing that they are, and want to be, a part of the mainstream community.  That’s why I urge people, particularly during Ramadan, to find out more about Islam, increase your understanding and learning, even fast for a day with your Muslim neighbour and break your fast at the local mosque. I would be very surprised if you didn’t find that you share more in common than you thought.’

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Chairman of the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, said:

‘We are delighted that the Mayor has decided to visit the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, especially in the Islamic month of Ramadan. We have always had an excellent relationship with the Mayor’s Office and we look to continue this and work together to make London a cohesive and vibrant global city.’