Statement regarding the article published in the Daily Mail

Assalamualikum (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you)

Please find below the statement from the Swindon Mosque spokesperson regarding the article published in the Daily Mail paper today:

We appreciate Layla’s (Lucy) article detailing her struggles and challenges in life complicated with both the gender change and then conversion to Islam. It must have been tough for her to share this experience publicly and we admire her courage.

Layla joined our Islamic (Tajweed) ladies class at the end of last year as she wanted to learn Arabic. She did not know any Arabic when she joined our school but over the months made brilliant progress. She participated in class and was welcomed by all the women until her departure in June this year. We had no idea of gender reassignment. She did mention once that she was a hermaphrodite. Her deep voice was dismissed because she said her voice deepened due to shouting in the army.

Layla did not declare her change on the school submission form, we only learned of this when she wanted to get married, unfortunately she was not happy to submit her document such as passport or birth certificate required as per the process for the Islamic marriage (Nikah). Apparently Layla also had the same issue with other administrations, nevertheless we offered to help but she found the request offensive.

She took a very aggressive approach towards her teacher with intimidating sms and personal harassment after classes. We understood she had a similar issue with other institutes and previous employers. We had outlined the zero tolerance policy for abuse towards the volunteers and a formal consultation was conducted. The details of this consultation are recorded, however as we respect Layla’s privacy we would not like to divulge the personal issues addressed in the conversation. Needless to say that Layla had accepted her conduct and apologised to the volunteer teacher and had stated that she is moving to London for marriage and would most likely not return to the classes. The school had broken for summer and Ramadan break after which Layla didn’t return to the class.

Layla was not banned from the mosque or asked to join the man for prayers, we respect the rights of women and wouldn’t even consider such an action. On the contrary we had wished Layla all the success in her marriage and new beginnings with her move to London.

We at Swindon Mosque ( Masjid ) are proud to offer our services to not only the Muslim community, we also liaise with local authority, police community awareness programs, Swindon Children in Care team, charities such as Voice of young people in care and UWT, Swindon Health Walks, local schools and much more. During Ramadan we had several local non-Muslim (homeless) join us for the feast at sunset for breaking the fast.

If you require more information about the services we offer or have questions about the faith in general, feel free to visit the Mosque.

JazakAllah (Thank You)

Swindon Mosque spokesperson

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