I READ with pleasurable surprise the letter from that rare species, a genuinely moderate Muslim, concerning the furore surrounding the mosque (Viewpoint, August 8).
Here is someone who can understand and appreciate the very genuine concerns of the non-Muslim community. If only there were more like him.
No one in Dudley opposes or objects to the freedom of anyone to worship in the way they choose – proof of this is the very number of mosques already in Dudley, as well as the temples of other faiths.
What we do object to is the sheer scale of the project – an objection rightly raised by the moderate Muslim – and its sitting.
We cannot ignore the wrangle over the land swap: it is a fundamental issue.
No council, of whatever political creed, should have done this.
What did the then council think the Dudley Muslim Association intended to do with such a prime site, build a factory?
To build a mosque there breaks every rule in the planning book, no matter what an outsider from Bristol says.
That land was earmarked by a Labour Government for industrial/commercial use only and no amount of special pleading from the DMA can alter that.
Then there is the cost. Again, the DMA use smoke and mirrors to obscure the funding issue, to proclaim taxpayers’ money will not be needed because they will fund it themselves.
Recent scrutinies of their accounts are very revealing. At the last openly declared account, they were £20,000 in debt.
We have a right to know just who is funding this mosque, after all. We know who is footing the bill for the unnecessary training centre and the roadworks associated with it, don’t we?
Over £12 million is an enormous sum of money to be spent on one tiny group of people (only 2.45 per cent of the Dudley population at the last census) when other supposedly disadvantaged groups don’t ask, or get, these sums.
When was the last time the Hindus or Sikhs demanded such attention and money? These groups simply take advantage of the opportunities available to all in Dudley and get on with their lives in a peaceful and integrated manner.
And so we come back to the central issue raised by that brave Muslim. Why is such a grandiose building needed by such a small congregation? Why is the Minaret necessary?After all, the Swiss have banned them because they are a political statement, not a religious necessity.
This is what troubles the people of Dudley. After all, despite the tepid moral leadership of the Anglican clergy, most Dudley people (77 per cent) state they are Christian and feel deeply threatened by the twin forces of strident secularism and rampant Islam.
As Sir Austen Chamberlain said in a different context: “Concession provokes not gratitude but some new demand which, but for the new concession, would not have been put forward.”
So, people of Dudley, rally round Councillor Malcolm Davies and the petition, the closing date of which has been extended to the first week in September, due to popular demand.
Paul M Byrne, Dudley