Roshan Muhammed Salih argues that Lozells Central Mosque should just come clean and apologize for planning to fund the British army.
What a mess!
Lozells Central Mosque and The Association of Non-Stun Abattoirs spend the week advertising a fundraising event for the “Help for Heroes” charity this Sunday.
5 Pillarz gets wind of the story and publishes a piece which led to a public backlash against the plans on the grounds that this would be financing an institution which kills Muslims.
Then the mosque issues a statement on its Facebook page saying the masjid had at no point “organised or advertised such an event, rather false advertisement by external individuals has generated this misleading claim.”
The statement went onto say: “We can confirm that ALL sources stating anything to the contrary are unreliable and false.”
By the way, they made this claim despite the fact that a member of their own committee confirmed the event WOULD take place to one of our reporters who recorded the phone call!
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Then whoever runs Lozells mosque’s Facebook page deletes comments which he/she deemed to be overly-critical of their decision to fund the British army.
Then the hapless Facebook moderator deletes the initial statement and sticks up another one effectively saying the same thing, but this time signed by the mosque committee.
To borrow a line from a certain right-wing journalist: You couldn’t make it up!
Shoot the messenger
I’ve been a journalist for 15 years now and I am all too familiar with this well-worn tactic: deny everything and shoot the messenger. But if you’re sure of your facts then why should you be intimidated? And we are sure of our facts.
So what are the lessons from this sorry mess?
Well firstly, it just shows how mosque committees are so far out of touch with ordinary Muslims. I mean, what planet have they been living on for the last 12 years? Did the war on terror just pass them by?
Secondly, when you’re caught with your shalwar down and the roti hits the fan, it’s always better to just apologize, say sorry for the mistake and then move on. People are complete suckers for an apology and you will find them very forgiving.
But the worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and try and shoot the messenger. Because that is cowardly, because that is insincere, and quite frankly, because people can see through it.
You can follow Roshan Muhammed Salih on Twitter @RMSalih