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Mosque leader 'very shaken' after incident

By PeteWalkerAdv  |  Posted: May 23, 2013

SHOCK: Al Falah Braintree Islamic Centre

The leader of a Braintree mosque has spoken of his shock after an attack on his centre last night, and has condemned yesterday's killing of a man in Woolwich as an attack on "the whole of humanity".

Abdul Gafoor Shaikh was at home when about 20 police officers rushed to the scene of an incident at the centre in Silks Way at about 7.15pm.

Fellow committee member, Shoruk Mia, who was preparing for evening prayer, was the only person in the Al Falah Braintree Islamic Centre during the attack and he quickly called police.

He, and no one else, was hurt following the attack.

Mr Abdul, 55, said: "I got there just after 7.30pm. Shoruk was very shaken and obviously in shock.

"We have a very peaceful relationship with everyone in Braintree and we have been here for 10 years without any incident. It's obviously very upsetting.

"We are coping with it and we don't think we will have a further incident and the police are keeping a close eye on us so we feel safe."

The mosque, which was open to the public last night, has had its carpets damaged.

"The carpets are very precious as we use them five times a day to pray on," he said, adding that the mosque welcomes about 150 to 200 Muslims for prayer on Fridays.

Mr Abdul, a father and local man, watched the news in horror yesterday when it became apparent that a man, reportedly a serving soldier, had been killed by two assailants wielding knives and machetes

"Our reaction to what happened in London yesterday is that we are really upset that something like this can happen.

"We were very upset and we think whoever killed this innocent person that it's as though they have killed the whole of humanity so we are very upset and we don't condone this.

"We think it's very bad."

Mr Abdul met with Braintree MP Brooks Newmark last night.

"He came down to support us which we found very nice," Mr Abdul added.

A 43-year-old man remains in custody after he was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and on attempted arson.

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