Racists misuse South Leeds Life photo

South Leeds Life is aware that one of our stories from 21 March 2020 has been used in an attempt to stir up racial tensions.

Our report covered the situation, at that time, for both Muslim and Christian worshippers and highlighted the approaches being taken by Mosques in Beeston. Some had already closed, whilst others were trying to maintain social distancing. The current ‘Stay At Home’ restrictions on movement were introduced the following Monday (23 March 2020).

This weekend the photo that accompanied the article (which we are not using for this post) has been used to allege that Muslims are flouting the lockdown and that West Yorkshire Police are colluding in some way.

This is simply not true.

Insp Lucy Leadbeater of the South Leeds Neighbourhood Policing Team said:

“There are posts and pictures circulating (on social media) suggesting a Mosque in Beeston was open on Friday 27/3 These pictures were taken from the below article which was published on 21/3 prior to the Governments restrictions being imposed”

Councillor Paul Wray (Hunslet & Riverside) added:

“It is important to think before you post. We’re in difficult times and peoples actions could cause unneeded community tensions. Right now the Police need our support, not more work. Thank you to all the places of worship in the ward who are following the rules.”

South Leeds Life is committed to representing all parts of the South Leeds community fairly, building solidarity and celebrating the contributions from all sections that make our neighbourhoods so richly diverse.

We are disgusted that our honest reporting has being misused by unscrupulous individuals to whip up racism.

Now, as we face the Coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to stand together and help our neighbours. We firmly believe that, in the words of Jo Cox, “We have far more in common than that which divides us.”