James Cleverly MP, the Deputy Chairman of the Conservatives, visited the Markazi Jamia Mosque in Rhodes Street, Halifax today (Tuesday) to promote religious tolerance and community cohesion.
The visit coincided with Love A Muslim Day, which has been created in response to a social media and letter hate campaign called Punish A Muslim Day.
The offensive letters, offering points for committing increasingly serious offences against Muslims, were posted to homes, businesses and politicians last month.
In response, events have been organised across the country inviting people to do nice things for Muslims and people in need.
Mr Cleverly said: “The Muslim community are a long-standing and significant part of British society and after this appalling Punish a Muslim thing i wanted to come here and make it absolutely clear that the government has no tolerance for that kind of Islamophobia.
“We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people who are being targeted and persecuted, whatever their faith.
“We had a lovely talk about local business, getting more young people involved in politics and apprenticeship schemes. I was pleased that the majority of the conversation was about positive stuff and ideas.
“Behind the headlines there are warm, welcoming, very friendly people in mosques up and down the country.
“That’s what doesn’t get seen or heard enough and needs to be made more visible.
“Groups from whatever faith are welcome. They would love to meet more people and chat to them.
“That’s where the resolution will come, when we get to understand that there are more things that unite us than divide us. That’s how we will work through the difficulties that exist.
“The vast majority of people on all sides are determined to play an active part in their community.”
Mohammed Sajawal, chairman of the management committee at the mosque, said: “We want peace in the mosque, no trouble. We would love to have peace, we are not like how some people portray us. People shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.
“It was good that Mr Cleverly came, we made him very welcome.”