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Baroness aims to tackle stereotypes during Keighley visit
A Keighley mosque found itself yesterday at the centre of a Government programme to counter people’s stereotypical views of various 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 it 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 as Baroness Warsi and Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, arrived soon after prayers yesterday.
Baroness Warsi first had a discussion with women members of the 80-strong Ahmadiyya community in Keighley before joining men gathered in a downstairs room.
“I know Keighley very well as I once worked here as a criminal defence solicitor and also my family had friends here who we would visit,” she said.
“What are the things which are concerning you in Keighley and what can the Government do to help?”
Dr Hafiz said that 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 hospice,” 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 also pointed out that 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.
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