Prayers for Syrians at Leeds mosque

Imam Qari Asim
Imam Qari Asim
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Prayers are being said for the people of Syria at a Leeds mosque following the launch of air strikes against Daesh militants.

Qari Asim, imam of Makkah Mosque in Hyde Park, said that the action must not result in the loss of innocent lives or increase support for terrorists.

MPs backed the moves to bomb Daesh, the so-called Islamic State or ISIS, following a 10-hour Commons debate on Wednesday.

Mr Asim said: “We pray for people of Syria, who have been victims of terror for over five years.”

He said that the “eradication of ISIS is something that all British citizens, Muslims or otherwise, absolutely agree with” but there needed to be a focus on a political solution, dismantling finances and infrastructure and increasing understanding of the true teachings of Islam.

He added: “We need a holistic and robust post conflict action plan so vacuum created by bombing ISIS is not filled with even worse characters and ideologies.”

In the Commons vote, 66 Labour MPs ignored leader Jeremy Corbyn and voted for air strikes.

Leeds Central MP and shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn was among them, making an impassioned speech which drew a standing ovation. He said: “We must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria.”

His words drew a strong reaction and the odds on him becoming the next Labour leader were yesterday slashed by bookmaker Coral from 4-1 to 2-1.

But Leeds Green Party, which has campaigned against air strikes, said it was “disappointed” by his stance.