Following afternoon prayers, Hasan Faruq took his daughter by the hand and led her across the green-carpeted interior of the East London Mosque.

On the ground floor, a scattering of men remained prostrate, facing Mecca. Upstairs, women prayed.

Playing with 5-year-old Zainab in an adjacent room, Faruq, a secondary school teacher of Bangladeshi decent, spoke of the importance of providing his children with excellent education, and cultural and religious values.

“People are not given the true image of Islam. I want my daughter to have a good education, to have freedom, to go where she wants,” he said.

British Muslims say that al-Qaida and other militant groups do not speak for their faith because violence is rejected in Islam. But, no matter how fiercely imams and community leaders condemn acts of terrorism, they feel that much of society now views all adherents of the religion as suicide bombers in-waiting. “I personally feel really victimized,” said Faruq, 30.

Recalling the recent kidnapping of a 17-year-old Muslim girl in Ilford, northeast London, whose abductor carved a cross into her hand, the father of three young children said, “I often feel full of fear when walking around with my kids…”


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