Stoke Newington Muslim community centre able to apply for anti-terror security funding after Home Office U-turn
PUBLISHED: 10:24 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:24 27 June 2019
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A Muslim community centre denied security funding despite being told it was vulnerable to a terrorist attack will now be eligible following a Home Office U-turn.
The North London Community Centre (NLMCC) in Stoke Newington had been told it was not eligible for the government's Places of Worship Protective Fund because it is not a mosque.
Now, however, religious community centres like the NLMCC will be able to apply for security funding after the Home Office changed the criteria.
Chair Munaf Zeena said: "I welcome the decision. It will help deter hate crimes against vulnerable communities and make Britain safer."
Munaf had previously accused the government of "risking many lives" by not funding security at all Islamic faith institutions.
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The NLMCC was told it was vulnerable after terrorist Darren Osborne drove a van into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque, killing Makram Ali and injuring nine.
A police officer working for the Home Office highlighted areas the community centre's security was inadequate.
A first funding bid was rejected with no reason given before the centre was told it was not eligible on the second application.
Diane Abbott, shadow home secretary and Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP, raised the case in the Commons in April after 50 people were killed in terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Ms Abbott was right to raise the issue and vowed to "work with community leaders and others about what needs to be done."
Ms Abbott said: "After the Christchurch attack places of worship have been put at higher risk, so it's only right the NLMCC should be eligible to apply. The government needs to make the funds available to keep the public safe in all places of worship."
A Home Office spokesperson said: "We have announced increased funding for this year's fund and allocated £5m over three years for security training for places of worship."
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