Right-wing group in mosque protest

Local Muslims and neighbours are rallying to defend the reputation of the Noor-a-Medina mosque on Waterloo Road in Blackpool, which has been the target for racist attacks

A PROTEST will be staged by controversial group the English Defence League outside a Blackpool mosque they claim is illegal.

 The right-wing group has already launched a campaign on social networking website Facebook which claims the Noor A Medina Mosque on Waterloo Road, South Shore, contravenes planning regulation.

Members of the cultural centre are desperate to reassure the public they want to include people of all faiths in a bid to promote community cohesion, after super glue was poured into the locks of the mosque on Friday, June 24.

Police have taken action to install CCTV cameras outside the building to ensure the safety of the family with children who live above.

But Tommy Robinson, national leader of the EDL, said: “We are opposed to them building mosques until they shown they can integrate.

“This is happening everywhere they are building mosques and not just in Blackpool.

“We are running a ‘No More Mosques’ campaign, which says we want their religion to reform.”

A date has not been set for the protest, but EDL chiefs said they planned to demonstrate on land nearby.

And Mr Robinson said he could understand people’s concerns if planning rules were being ignored.

He added: “I think some people will be taking the law into their own hands and understand how frustrated people are.”

Tasurraf Shah, who ran for election with Blackpool Council, has confirmed the group have applied for a change of premises licence to turn the former takeaway into a meeting place for the local community.

She said: “We are all one and don’t care what religion people are.

“We do workshops on basic Islam for Muslims and non-Muslims because we want to educate the community to live a peaceful life together.

“We do not want to segregate into cultural communities as other towns have, this is not good for the new generation.”

The Facebook group set up by a local EDL member claims: “In 2010, an application was put in for a change of use to a mosque. No notification was given to people living nearby, this in itself contravenes planning regulation.

“Therefore the premises is acting as a mosque without permission.”

Blackpool Council confirmed they had received a change of use application for the building.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police added: “We have received a call about super glue being poured into the locks of the Noor A Medina Mosque.

“We are investigating.”

From the Blackpool Gazette. 04.07.11

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