British Army visit to East Lancashire mosque ‘opens doors’

British Army visit to East Lancashire mosque ‘opens doors’
(Friday, October 2, 2015) 12:36

Army chiefs say a unique visit to an East Lancashire mosque has inspired them to build greater relations with the Muslim community in the region.

In the first event of its kind in the UK, the Army Engagement Group was invited by religious leaders from the Minhaj-ul-Quran mosque in Nelson to give a presentation to those attending evening prayers.

The group, which tours the country explaining the Army’s role to various audiences, then faced a question and answer session at the Carr Street centre, which dealt with subjects such as the effects of conflict on civilians and career opportunities in the military.

Earlier in the day they had also visited Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School and Sixth Form College and Tauheedul Islam Boys’ School in Blackburn.

Col Philip Harrison, deputy commander of 42nd Infantry Brigade, said: “It’s important that we talk with communities in our region so that we better understand their perspectives and they have a better idea about our role in society.

“It’s clear from the questions we were asked after our presentation, and the discussion we had over our meal, that everyone found the evening helpful and informative.

“But this is just a starting point for us and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to meet with many members of the Muslim community, and other faiths, across the North West.”

General secretary of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (UK), Moazzam Raza, described the event as “informative”, adding: “It’s very important that local communities understand the services that the civilian and state institutions provide for the nation, the challenges they face and support they require.

“It is equally important that the great institutions of our country understand our diverse communities and serve them accordingly.”

Faz Patel, who works with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said: “We have had a great day. 

“It was quite something for ours to be the first mosque in the country to host a visit by the Army Engagement Group.”

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