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Ramadan security boost for UK Muslims

Local religious leaders stand together for solidarity following an attack outside a mosque in London on Monday. (Reuters)
LONDON: Muslims will see an “increased police presence” at mosques and community centers across the UK, according to the chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque.
Speaking to Arab News following Monday’s terror attack in north London, Mohammed Kozbar said that UK Prime Minister Theresa May had promised him there would be additional “measures and actions.”
The assurances came at a meeting on Monday afternoon in Finsbury Park Mosque between Kozbar, May, and multi-faith leaders that lasted around 45 minutes.
After the meeting, Kozbar told Arab News: “The first thing is to make sure that mosques and Muslim community centers are protected, and this is why you will see an increased police presence, especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan. We would like to reassure our community that they are safe.”
Kozbar said that the tone of the meeting with the prime minister was positive: “We wish that Theresa May had come under different circumstances but here we are. She listened in a positive way and heard the needs of the community, and about the rise of Islamophobia, and she listened to the concerns of Muslims feeling vulnerable.”
Even with an increased police presence, Kozbar admitted that there are limits to what can be achieved. “With the attack on Westminster Bridge and here, you cannot protect against it, but we have to take every precaution to protect our community starting with additional security measures,” he said.
It is unclear when additional policing will begin, but local residents voiced concerns. Fatima, who did not give her family name, told Arab News: “We don’t want to be living in fear that we always need security around us. We want to be living in the free world.”
Visibly drained by Monday’s events, Kozbar admitted that a long-term solution to the current crisis is not obvious, but he believes that the UK government “needs to be in touch with people on the ground,” including the leadership at Finsbury Park Mosque.