Archbishop praises mosque over EDL response


A mosque in York has been praised for offering English Defence League protesters tea and a game of football.

Members of the far right-wing group turned up to protest at the Bull Lane mosque and were invited in for tea and biscuits by worshippers there.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said the mosque's response was "fantastic".

"Tea, biscuits, and football are a great and typically Yorkshire combination when it comes to disarming hostile and extremist views," he said.

The EDL has been staging protests in response to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week.

The Archbishop said people should not jump to "alarmist conclusions".

"What happened outside Woolwich Barracks is abhorrent to us all. It is vital that people of all religions and none stand together against extremist violence, wherever it may be," he said.

The Bull Lane mosque lies within the parish of Father Tim Jones, who said: "I've always known they were intelligent and compassionate people and I think this has demonstrated the extent to which they are people of courage - certainly physical courage and also a high degree of moral courage.

"I think the world can learn from what happened outside that ramshackle little mosque on Sunday."

Christian leaders in Greater Lincolnshire, meanwhile, have condemned the fire-bombing of a mosque in Grimsby on Sunday.

"We are appalled and deeply saddened by this horrific and foolish act against a peaceful worshipping community," they said.

Signatories of the letter included Dr Pete Atkins, of the Groundlevel Network, Lt Col Mike Caffull, of the Salvation Army, Dr Tim Ellis, Bishop of Grantham, the Reverend Tony Haley, of the East Midland Baptist Association, the Right Reverend Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln, and the Reverend Bruce Thompson, Chair of the Lincoln and Grimsby Methodist Circuit.

"While no one, thankfully, was physically hurt in this attack, the effect of this crime will be felt very deeply not only by the members of the mosque, but by the wider community of Grimsby," they said.

"All are entitled to worship peacefully, and to enjoy, and be enriched by, the community of their place of worship without fear.

"After our horror at the events in Woolwich and this attack in Grimsby, we pray for, and encourage, friendship, and not violence, as the first response to a crisis.

"Our thoughts, prayers and support are with the Muslim community of Grimsby and around the country."