Belfast Telegraph

Muslims reach out to trolls over prayers abuse in Northern Ireland

Prayers: Muslims in Newbuildings
Prayers: Muslims in Newbuildings
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

An Islamic association has offered the hand of friendship to trolls who made abusive comments about a group of Muslims praying in the street.

It is believed the six men were travelling through the north west when their time for prayer arrived.

They stopped their car beside a garage and car wash at Newbuildings and kneeled on the ground to pray, before getting in their vehicle and driving away.

A photograph of the scene was shared on Facebook alongside a torrent of hate-filled comments.

The North West Islamic Association expressed gratitude "to everyone who defended the rights of Muslims to practise our religion freely without being threatened or abused".

"Muslims pray to God five times a day at specific times with recitation of verses, bowing and prostration," it said.

"These prayers are not only a way of submitting to God but also a way to give thanks.

"When done properly, these regular prayers should keep Muslims in a state of piety and peace as when people pray in Church or elsewhere.

"These five prayers should be performed at specific times and Muslims are encouraged to pray at the mosque, at home or at any suitable clean place as long as they don't block a road, cause disruption or cause difficulties to the neighbourhood."

The association said it was aware of the comments online, and said it indicated how some people "have very little knowledge about Muslims and Islam".

It added: "This is most likely because they never got a chance to even meet a Muslim before. As a result, their fear of the unknown influenced their opinion and behaviour.

"North West Islamic Association, as an organisation, would like to offer individuals or groups the chance to connect with the Muslim community in the city by inviting them for a cup of tea at their convenience.

"We hope that this will help us build bridges with all communities in the city so that we can all live in peace and harmony together."

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