Former Moderator visits mosque to show support after attack

A former Moderator has visited a Cumbernauld mosque to show support after the mosque was sprayed with racist graffiti.

Azhar Din, Secretary to the Islamic Educational Trust at Cumbernauld, introduced Very Rev Dr Finlay MacDonald to the mosque community
Azhar Din, Secretary to the Islamic Educational Trust at Cumbernauld, introduced Very Rev Dr Finlay MacDonald to the mosque community.

Very Rev Dr Finlay MacDonald visited the Cumbernauld Mosque, which is run by the Islamic Education Trust of Cumbernauld, as part of Mosque Open Day, Sunday 5 Feb.

The mosque recently was attacked by vandals who spray painted the words “Saracen Go Home" and "Deus Vult", which translates from Latin as God willing. Police are treating the attack, which happened on the night of 16-17 December, as a hate crime.

Dr MacDonald and members of Falkirk Presbytery visited the mosque as representatives of the Moderator, who sent a letter of support to the Imam after the attack. (You can read the full text of his letter below.)

Azhar Din, Secretary to the Islamic Educational Trust at Cumbernauld, greeted Dr MacDonald and gave him a guided tour introducing him to members of the mosque community. The group then took part in the lunchtime prayer time in the main prayer hall of the mosque.

Dr MacDonald said:

“In conversation I shared of interfaith experiences from my time as vice-chair of the Scottish Interfaith Council.

“I also mentioned a particularly significant experience from my Moderatorial year (2002-03) - between 9/11 and the US led invasion of Iraq.

“During a visit to our partner church in Syria I received a message from the Grand Mufti, the late Sheik Ahmed Kuftaro, inviting me to give a Christian greeting at the Abu Nour Mosque in Damascus.

“He welcomed me as his ‘cousin in faith’ and explained to the large congregation that I was ‘a follower of their Uncle Jesus Christ.’ This was in March 2003, just two weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

“It’s a lovely family image and one we need to hold on to in these troubling times.”

Here is the full text of the Moderator’s letter to Azhar Din at the Cumbernauld Mosque.

“Following the incident reported in the media at the weekend when graffiti was found on the walls of Cumbernauld mosque, I am writing to express the sorrow and support of the Church of Scotland.

“On Friday last I enjoyed a very pleasant Christmas dinner with the Imam of the Ahlul Bayt Society and, as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, one of my priorities has been to encourage interfaith dialogue and good interfaith relationships.

“Please be assured that the Church of Scotland condemns any attempt to insult the people of your faith community and we hope the culprits of this particular incident are brought to justice.

“I would be grateful if you would express my support to all the members of your mosque, especially those who were upset by the incident, and assure them of my thoughts and prayers.

“With every blessing,”

Russell Barr, Moderator