The Didsbury Mosque, and the Manchester Islamic Centre, are co-located on Burton Road, West Didsbury, in Manchester, England. The building was originally the "Albert Park Methodist Chapel", which opened for worship in 1883, but in 1962 the chapel closed and was later converted into a mosque. It has an attendance of around 1,000 people. The mosque Sheikh is Mustafa Abdullah Graf.
The Didsbury Mosque and Manchester Islamic Centre says of itself it, "represents a wide range of the Muslim community of various origins and/or Islamic schools of thought". The mosque holds open-days providing, displays, talks, Q & A sessions and guided tours.
The mosque has a Sharia Department which issues Fatwas, oversights family affairs, assists with Zakat calculations and provides financial transaction advice and mediation.
The mosque broadcasts, with radio coverage over most of South Manchester, adhan, prayers, Friday sermons, daily reminders as well as talks and lectures given in the mosque prayer hall. The Manchester Islamic Centre is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission.
There are strong Libyan ties within the mosque, with various people from the mosque having been involved, in Libya, in the civil war. In 2011, the (current) mosque imam travelled to Libya, where he aided moderate rebel groups to help topple Gaddafi. Another person from the mosque was described variously as a "member" and a "senior member" of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. A regular worshipper at the mosque, Abd al-Baset Azzouz, al Qaeda operative left Britain in 2009 to join the terror group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan, before heading to Libya to run an al Qaeda network in the east of the country.
At least two British recruits of Islamic State also worshipped at the mosque. Rapper and ISIS soldier Raphael Hostey worshipped at the mosque together with Salman Abedi, who went on to set off a suicide bomb at Manchester Arena in 2017. Hostey travelled to Syria where he was killed.
In December 2017, mosque attendee Mohammed Abdallah, was jailed for 10 years for being a member of Islamic State, where he was listed as a "specialist sniper".
Manchester attacks and response
The attacker of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing was identified as Salman Ramadan Abedi. He attended the mosque. His father, Ramadan Abedi called the adhan at the mosque, and his older brother, Ismail Abedi, was a tutor in the mosque's Qur'an school. Both men were arrested.
The mosque released a statement condemning the terror attack. The mosque also held a moment of silence to remember the victims of the bombing.
However Muslims opposed to militant Islamic ideologies have said that the mosque must bear some responsibility for Abedi's radicalization because of the conservative Salafi brand of Islam it espouses. Rashad Ali, senior fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and counter-terror expert, told Vice News the mosque preached a "fairly radical, puritan" brand of Salafist Islam and was "effectively taken over at certain points by various Libyan militia groups, including ones associated with the Muslim Brotherhood." He said the Abedi family subscribed to a radical political strain of Salafism – a background which suggested the bomber would have had a shorter pathway to radicalization than others.
One attendee said in 2017 that allegedly, "every other Friday khutba [sermon] at Didsbury was about how bad ISIS are" and that the bomber allegedly, "hated the mosque.", whereas another attendee said Salman Abedi «"learned the Qur’an by heart"» at the mosque.