|Islamophobia Watch alerts us to a report in the Sunderland Echo stating that police were required to guard a council meeting at which the planning application for a ‘controversial’ mosque was being reviewed amid fears of protests and disturbance given the hostile campaign organized against the plans.|
From the local paper:
"A mosque will be built on the site of a transport depot after controversial plans were approved last night.
"Police were on hand to ensure the planning meeting at the civic centre went ahead peacefully, amid fears of protests as tensions ran high over the Millfield proposals."
"Since they were announced last year, the plans to convert the transport depot in St Mark’s Road into an Islamic place of worship have attracted 671 letters of objection and a 1,462-signature-strong petition about potential parking and noise problems.
"The applicant for the proposals, Coniel Bashir was required to allay fears about “4am minaret prayer calls and a sudden influx of worshippers”. He told the meeting that “There will be no public call to prayer.
“It will be one person and it will be done internally, not outside.
“The site will serve only those in the Sunderland and Millfield areas and it will not host weddings.”
Despite protest at the decision in the gallery, the council leader Paul Watson said that the decision was made based on facts and not on “what may or may not happen or the fears people have.”
The article continues that “Some neighbours, who also spoke at the meeting, objected because they believed the development would result in an increase in noise and traffic.”
The paper adds that whilst many of the complaints were from people who lived in the locality, many were from people outside of the area, which begs the question, what objection would someone who is not a local resident have to the construction of a mosque?
Sunderland has been the target of several Islamophobic campaigns and attacks. The BNP recently staged a protest in the town against the use of halal meat in Subway stores and in 2009 a mosque in Sunderland was the target of an attempted arson attack.
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