Visit my Mosque

Over 200 Mosques across the UK opened their doors on the 18th February 2018. The theme this year was Open Doors, Open Mosques, Open Communities

I certainly felt a warm welcome, not only from the people at the desk signing you in but from all people who were involved in the open day. People were willing to answer questions you had about the everyday running of the Mosque to the plans for the future of the building.

The whole area is currently undergoing a huge building project where the Mosque – which looks unlike any other I have seen – will be built. It will certainly be a fitting sight and with a modern appearance be an asset to those living in the west end of Newcastle.

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I had the privilege to see the plans for the new mosque it’s to be one of the greenest and ecologically sound constructions built in modern Newcastle. Its general theme seems to coincide with nature and inspires people to connect with the rich resources that the earth provides.

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I spent some time talking to some of the women of Mosque about their appearance and dress and how it was important to their own religious belief. There are a lot of misconceptions and general ignorance when it comes to how women in Islam present themselves.

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My view is where do you get your information from regarding Islam? Do you read the headlines that demean and misinform? Or do you go to the people who live, breathe and work for the religion?

I wouldn’t rely on the Beano to inform me of the British way of life. I wouldn’t ask right-wing groups on their opinion of Islam and other religions. I would ask the people who represent it.

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As I said to the people in the Mosque religious education in the UK has been abysmal for decades. Once people were schooled in religion and the knowledge of Christianity. Even that seems to be pitiful and lacking in certain parts of the education system. Always maligned and ridiculed as unnecessary for future life beyond the walls of school. I think its probably one of the most important subjects, especially for these times where lies have been planted into people.

PR

Sunderland football club has messed up. It is was disgraceful that they lifted Adam Johnson’s suspension and allowed him to play for the first team in the months leading up to the trial. He should have been removed while the legal proceedings were taking place and if found not guilty (like some have been found) been reinstated to his position within the club.

According to reports at the time, he was brought to answer questions to the management and admitted to them he acted in a manner which was totally inappropriate. At this point the should have taken action. They didn’t and now they are dealing with consequences.

I don’t know much about how the game of football works but I know about how public relations work. I am not an avid follower of any team and have no so-called loyalties. I know that Newcastle United as well isn’t too good. They are dragging their heels in keeping someone in a post who is clearly not getting the job right. I am sure that there are others out there might use stronger words in their description of how the club is run.

I know that some celebrities do rely on stories in the press to keep their persona in the media spotlight. I know that they will make up stories and work together to get their names into print. It’s a common practice and articles will appear every day in tabloids where somehow a celeb will be out shopping. If the photo hasn’t been taken surreptitiously and the makeup is perfect etc you know it is a fake story.

If you are promoting a business or a cause you need to have people on your side and quickly responding to questions or information relating to your chosen field. Sitting on your hands and not using social media in the way it was designed will only have a negative impact on your work. I have spent 13 years building up a decent eBay profile. Getting the answers dealt with and responding quickly and clearly to potential buyers is crucial. If you have a smartphone you have no excuse for not replying to questions within 24/48 hours of them being posted.

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This is how I have built up followers on my twitter account. If someone makes a joke or a comment that is longer than three words I will always reply to someone. It reinforces that you have read their comment and taken what they have said on board. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they said just acknowledged the comment in the first place. The worst thing you can do is fail to answer a question.

I think PR should be sharper than a pin in the way in which it is run. You aren’t going to please everyone all the time but you should at least aim to please some of those who you come into contact with. You risk alienating supporters and those who financially contribute to you.

Balance of the sexes

During the day I get the opportunity to read some of the news articles that appear in publications that are based in North East. Apart from the fact that most of them are filled with stories to do with football there are some snippets of interest.

I have been interested in story covered by the Hartlepool Mail. It describes a former teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a pupil at her school. The teacher involved has admitted to kissing the boy but said nothing else happened. She is on trial at Teeside Crown Court.

She is accused of grooming the boy by giving him sweets and what the paper describes as “attention”. But it went further to describe what the accused in question was wearing in court. Right down to the colour of her tights and shoes.

“Wearing a burgundy jacket and skirt, grey tights and matching grey high heels, she wept several times as she started her defence.”

Regardless of whether this person is guilty or not what has the colour of her clothing and the type of shoes she is wearing got to do with the evidence provided in court?

Ahhhh you see! She is wearing high heels. You see? See what type of a person she is. She obviously has questionable morals and definitely should be viewed with some sort of suspicion.

This sort of gutter journalism is proof that women again do not hold an equal standing in society. Why is it that we seem to judge women on the basis of what type and how little clothing they wear. Would a man have his clothing describes in such detail if he were accused of the crime? Would his clothing be relevant? No. But it must be if a women dresses in such a way.

I emailed the newspaper. No reply so far. I doubt I will get answer or explanation.

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Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!