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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Muslims 'thrilled' by Queen's visit
The Queen visits the Islamic Centre in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire
The Queen on her first visit to one of Britain's mosques
After the Queen's visit to the Islamic Centre in Scunthorpe, chairman of Humber Racial Equality and organiser of the visit, Jawaid Ishaq MBE, gives BBC News Online his personal account of the day's events

opening quotes
The community was delighted with the Queen's visit to our mosque.

There were hundreds and hundreds of people outside the Islamic Centre - Muslims, black, white - who came from all over to greet Her Majesty. It was fantastic and everybody was overjoyed.

It was a dream come true for the Muslim community

We made history with the Queen visiting the Islamic Centre.

We invited her not knowing whether we'd be turned down or not. But she agreed to visit and she chose Scunthorpe.

It shows she recognises the Muslim community - which is the second largest religious group in the country now with 3.5 million people.

I think because of the situation that happened in America on 11 September, the Muslim community can be looked upon by the media and others as terrorists; that they are bad people and that Islam is not good.

So having the tour around the mosque by the monarch was a great relief to us. It was a dream come true for the Muslim community.
Crowds of school children greet the Queen outside the mosque
People from the local community came out to greet the Queen

The timing of the visit was very important because of the racial tensions and everything else - there are still racial tensions against the Muslims.

This very building, the Islamic Centre, has been attacked.

The windows were smashed, and everything beautiful was written on with "kill all the Muslims".

It is very, very important there is better understanding by the public as a whole that Muslims are not all terrorists.

Islam is a religion which is very peaceful. Islam always teaches people - Muslims - to be nice to others, to be respectful to others.

Thriving community

This Mosque is unique for us; it is one of the largest buildings in North Lincolnshire although there are other small mosques run by other communities as well.

But this is one of the largest Islamic centres in the area because we have a sports hall, office accommodation, and an IT suite has been provided for the Muslim women to learn about technologies.

The Queen removed her shoes in accordance with the Muslim religion
The Queen is shown the mosque's prayer room

They don't like to go to the colleges but they very much like to learn about IT. Our local colleges will be providing the teaching staff.

They feel free to come and learn here whereas before they may have been reluctant to go out and learn. The women can then go out and compete for jobs in the outside community.

Her Majesty met a group of the women and asked them what they were learning. And she shook hands with 70 members of the community - 10 ladies and 60 male members from various countries.

Lengthy preparations

A lot of hard work went on behind the scenes, and we had tremendous support - from the local authority right up to the Palace.

I hope there are other Muslims up and down the country who take a leaf out of our book. Don't think the Royal Family will not be interested.
Even Royal visitors have to go bare foot
As is the Muslim tradition, the Queen removed her shoes

There are other Royal Family members who can contribute towards a better understanding and better race relations in this country - and that is their role.

The Muslim community is part and parcel of the community in this country and they should really involve whoever they can.

They can mix with the other communities and political parties - being part of this society while maintaining their own religious and cultural activities.

closing quotes

See also:

31 Jul 02 | England
01 Aug 02 | England
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