Mosque Approval Delights UK Muslims

CAIRO – Fulfilling a ten-year-old dream, a Muslim application to build a mosque in Britain’s West Midlands region of Shropshire has been approved by the city council, to the jubilance of the sizable minority.

 

“We have waited nearly 10 years for a suitable building,” George Miah, chairman of the Shropshire Bangladeshi Welfare Society, told Shropshire Star on Friday, June 21.

 

“This is a democracy and people have a right to object, but we would like to work with those people.

“We are deeply, deeply indebted to everyone who has supported us.”

The Shropshire Council voted Thursday in favor of a Muslim application to use the town’s former register office in Preston Street as a mosque.

Members of the Shropshire Bangladeshi Welfare Society, which presented the application, said the approval marked the end of a decade-long wait.

The society has been meeting at United Reformed Church on English Bridge for the last 10 years.

The approval comes despite a vocal opposition from some locals.

More than 500 letters have been sent to the authority against the proposal as members of the far-right English Defence League led a protest outside the planned mosque.

Waiting for the decision, more than 60 people were present at the council meeting.

“I believe this application represents a continuation of the cultural identity of the area not a break,” resident Sue Challis said, winning a round of applause after she spoke in support of the application.

“I see no reason not to approve it.”

Interfaith Relations

Muslims promised to cooperate for better relations with the mosque neighbors and the wider community.

“We will work with the local community and neighbors and want to invite everyone to the opening,” Miah said.

The society’s trustee Martin Kabir thanked all supporters of the mosque.

“We are very pleased and we would like to thank everyone who has supported the application,” he said.

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.

The building of mosques has been facing growing public opposition in several Western countries.

In the United States, at least 35 mosque projects have found foes, who battle to stop them from seeing light citing different pretexts, including traffic concerns and fear of terrorism.

Building mosques was also meeting opposition in several European countries as France, Italy and Spain.

In Switzerland, Swiss voters supported a referendum to ban the building of mosque minarets in the country.

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