Muslim Welfare House “much more” than a mosque

The Muslim Welfare House, a clutch of buildings behind high iron gates on Seven Sisters Road, is the centre of a network of community centers serve Muslims in England and Wales. A registered charity, it has 13 employees on its books, and a income in 2016 of £856,000. It educational classes, such as training measures and language courses, youth work, lectures, and worship services.

The North London-building is a mosque, with more than 2,000 Muslims, the prayer regularly the Friday. Up to 800, and squeeze into the main prayer hall, and a further 1,000 in the youth center, and there is a separate women’s prayer room.

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“The services here are very much to offer more than a mosque,” Toufik Kacimi, the CEO of the charity, said in an interview earlier this year. “We have activities for children, for young people, offers for women with different needs are all addressed, with different programs. It is not like a mosque, where they pray and go home.”

The largest part of the complex, a building adjacent to the railroad tracks that run North of Kings Cross, rooms, a number of class. “Every three months we have a variety of courses,” said Kacimi, 48. “We had a mindfulness course for the ladies, and when you have finished, we had an education for life, of course.” To the latter belong issues such as healthy eating and good behaviour.

“We have a lot of people don’t know how you educate your children on how to support you in your house,” he said. The center also offers after school clubs was attended by over 350 children up to 8.30 am each school day.

Kacimi, said: “We do a lot of work, tackling youth unemployment, youth engagement, domestic violence, gun culture, substance abuse.”

The centre attracts people from diverse backgrounds. “We have Somalis, Albanians, Bengalis, Indians, Algerians – you name it.”

The centre of the plans submitted to the Council to demolish the site and erect a 10-storey complex on the site, but the proposal was rejected. “We will be back with new plans. We are trying to a better job with better benefits, meets the needs of the community instead of awful, ugly looking building, as it is now,” said Kacimi.

He said that hate crime was “a growing Problem, the impact on our community”, and the center encouraged its users to report incidents to the authorities. “There are a lot of ladies come here, and if you use public transport, sometimes you are affected by hate crimes. We have conferences, we bring in the police, we bring the Council, we bring “Transport for London”.

“Our job is to educate people and tell them: “You’re not in Africa, you’re in Saudi Arabia, you need to speak with the police, you need to tell them what happened, if you are a victim of domestic violence or victims of hate crime. It is our job to do everything.”

The Finsbury Park mosque is less than 200 meters, on a side road Welfare House of railway lines and busy thoroughfare of Seven Sisters Road separated from the Muslim. The five-storey mosque, which is also a registered Association, was founded by Prince Charles in 1994.

It gained notoriety as a center for radicalization as Abu Hamza al-Masri was the imam and weapons training in the mosque. It was closed after a police-RAID in 2003, and Abu Hamza is in prison for incitement to murder and racial hatred.

Two years later, the mosque was re-opened under new management, headed by the Chairman, Mohammed Kozbar, and is today regarded as a model of community, relationships, and outward-looking, moderate Islam. It has believe strong links with the local community and other organisations, and regularly opens its doors to non-Muslims.

The mosque has the purpose of the “true teachings of Islam as a religion of tolerance, cooperation and peaceful harmony amongst all people who lead a life of balance, justice and mutual respect”.

Jeremy Corbyn, the local MP, is a regular visitor to the two mosques where he holds surgeries for local residents.