04:41AM, Monday 17 March 2014
Building bridges and establishing strong community links was the message as Maidenhead Mosque opened its doors to non-Muslims yesterday.
The mosque, in Holmanleaze, was holding an open day as part of Islam Awareness Week to encourage better understanding and dialogue between different faiths.
The event attracted a mixed crowd of people to hear a lecture from Imam Monawar Hussein, Muslim chaplain at Eton College, including members of the Islamic community, Royal Borough councillors and guest of honour Sir Nicholas Winton.
The 104-year-old Maidenhead resident, who saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish children before the outbreak of the Second World War, accepted a bouquet of flowers after being specially invited to the event by the trust which runs the mosque.
Flowers were also given to PCSOs Graham Knight and Jason Miller, who supported the Muslim community after the mosque was targeted with racist graffiti in the aftermath of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
"Tensions could have escalated and it could have led to lots of trouble but everybody here kept their cool," said PCSO Miller, speaking to the Advertiser.
"This is part of our local area and it's important for us to come along and support things like this."
Cllr Mohammed Ilyas (Con, Furze Platt), who attends the mosque and was at the event, added: "We have had some tough times during the year and through supporting each other we have got through those tough times.
"These functions are there to help us build bridges and create a better understanding."
* Other events taking place to mark the awareness week include an exhibition stand at Maidenhead Library, in St Ives Road.
It was unveiled on Saturday by the Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, Cllr Andrew Jenner, who was presented with a cheque for £200 for the Mayor's Charity from the trust.
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Police raided addresses in Lillibrooke Crescent, Cox Green, and in Crown Lane, Farnham Royal, at about 7.15am.