October 09, 2004


As promised the Mosque reopened yesterday. Everyone had a meeting the previous night and decided to set aside their differences for Ramadan. There was a genuinely good feeling outside, with all those involved with last week’s arguments in a conciliatory mood. I tried to get in but a Muslim I didn’t know blocked my path, (UPDATE: This turned out to be my first ever meeting with Mohammed Hamid ) so I stood outside with the other infidels corner regulars and a Policewoman called Rachel. Barry popped by briefly but I forgot to ask him if he would write something for socialistwanker. Before he left he told a journalist that he hoped the demonisation of Finsbury Parks Muslim community would now stop.

Eventually some Algerians I knew got me into the entrance of the Mosque, camera running. After two years standing outside it was quite a big moment for me. I found that I wasn’t the first infidel inside. I was beaten by none other than Jeremy Corbyn. Much as I try and dislike politicians, seeing Jeremy surrounded by Finsbury Park’s Muslims, papers in hand trying to help them with their worries was an idyllic scene. I told him I was from socialistwanker.com and he told me that he was proud to be there with the Mosque open. He had always been a guest here for Ramadan before and was looking forward to coming next week.

A couple of people tried to get me out but a very animated Algerian who claimed to be recently released from Belmarsh insisted I stayed. I’m still trying to work out what else he was saying on my tape, but I can already see that this guy will make great TV and he has a story he really wants to tell. I checked with a couple of Muslims who I had told about this blog and they all said I had represented their side fairly.

I am continually amazed by how totally under whelmed everyone is by my language and drug references. So many Muslims here have reverted from a lifestyle similar to mine, they don’t seem even to notice. Mr. Abdullah eventually came out. He didn’t seem downhearted or defeated; although it was obvious he had taken a step back.

“ The Muslim community is happy, I suppose the government is happy…”

An Imam had come in whom all sides respected. Everyone agreed that to be enemies with each other was not Islamic and that they should all talk and refer everything they said to the Koran. I told Mr. Abdullah that I had seen him on a BBC program the previous night called The Asian Invasion.

They had used a clip with Abdullah preaching and Hamza in the background shot the first week I arrived at Finsbury Park (not by me) to demonstrate “British Asian Extremists” and implied that the majority of British Asians were embarrassed by them. Abdullah and co all thought this was hilarious.

As far as I know, the Mosque will be reopen for prayers everyday now, and I can feel my documentary coming to a conclusion. I haven’t really spoken to the other side, ie the trustee’s, but it would be great to negotiate access to the conversations between the two sides as the Mosque reopens, film of this may help to “rehabilitate” the Mosque in the eyes of the great British suburban sofa. I’m going to keep trying to get in with or without a camera anyway.

I found it strange the choice of vehicle that people left in. Jeremy Corbyn MP tucked his trousers into his socks and cycled off. Barry disappeared in an unassuming white Vauxhall Astra while the Imam left in a posh, sleek, streamlined gun metal grey Beemer.

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