Mosque linked to suicide bomber fears backlash
MANCHESTER: Worshippers at the mosque the Manchester suicide bomber is believed to have frequented said Wednesday they fear a backlash. This came as the city's mayor warned that any attacks on Muslims would please terrorists.
Elders at the Didsbury mosque, a Victorian former Methodist chapel, reacted with disbelief to the attack and voiced concern about reports of Islamophobic attacks since the bombing that killed 22 people at the end of a pop concert.
"The horrific atrocity that occurred in Manchester on Monday night shocked us all. This act of cowardice has no place in our religion," said Mr Fawzi Haffar, a trustee at the mosque, who was joined outside the red-brick building by members of the Muslim community.
After a minute's silence, he thanked those who had helped victims and urged those with any information about the attack to contact the police.
The mosque, standing in a leafy suburb of south Manchester, is popular with university students. It has been in operation since being bought in 1967 by donors from the Syrian community.
"It is one of the most popular mosques in Manchester, because they preach nothing but love here," Mr Javed Akhtar, a regular attendee, told AFP as police stood guard outside the building.
Mr Akhtar said he had not come across Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old attacker, whose family had immigrated to Manchester from Libya.
He said: "It is unbelievable you get a guy from here, who has been here, who has done such a terrible thing." - AFP