Monday, March 29, 2010

 

Muslims and Bedfordshire police

There is a email doing the rounds about Bedfordshire police policy of entering Muslim households. I've reproduced it below. Bedfordshire police have responded to this here. Unfortunately, they fail to address the real issue. The issue is not whether they have a policy when entering a Muslim household but whether they have a similar policy respect for any non-Muslim groups. Reading their response it looks like they don't.

BEDFORDSHIRE (U.K) POLICE FORCE'S

RULES REGARDING TERRORISTS AND DANGEROUS CRIMINALS



If they are non-Muslim

• Consider the most opportune time of day to be able to arrest suspects with minimum resistance
• Apply all necessary force to enter the premises and arrest suspects accordingly.


If they are Muslim:

Community leaders must be consulted before raids into Muslim houses.

Officers must not search occupied bedrooms and bathrooms before dawn.

Use of police dogs will be considered serious desecration of the premises.
Cameras and camcorders should not be used in case capturing women in inappropriate dress.
If people are praying at home officers should stand aside and not disrupt the prayer
-they should be allowed the opportunity to finish.
Officers should take their shoes off before raiding a Muslim house.
The reasons for pre-dawn raids on Muslim houses needs to be clear and transparent.
Officers must not touch holy books or religious artefacts without permission.
Muslim prisoners should be allowed to take additional clothing to the station.




With this continuing appeasement, no wonder it’s now predicted that Britain will become an

Islamic State by 2070.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

 

Cheeky sods

Romans, the estate agents, have just put in a planning application for a huge 3m illuminated sign stuck next to the A30. Bit of a cheek given that they wrote in support of the mosque planning application on the grounds that it would improve the street scene.

This is what it will look like: https://www.public.surreyheath-online.gov.uk/whalecom60b1ef305f59f921/whalecom0/Scripts/DocsOnLine/47399_6.pdf

I think I will engage in my new found hobby of writing to the council.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

 

Dr Taj Hargey and the MCB

Having heard Dr Hargey speak at the council meeting I've been reading various article by and about him. This is one of the interesting ones, if only because of the poor light it throw on the MCB.

In other news, the Camberley Mosque website has been updated to say that the "rundown building that we use as a place of worship is too precious to be replaced by a new modern building so please continue your worship in the existing rundown building as normal"

Mrs Chaudhry has said that "in the meantime (waiting for the appeal process) the building is going to be as it is, in a terrible state"

The new plan appear to be to let the building fall into disrepair. Hopefully the council won't let them and will issue a repair notice, something it sounds like they should've done a while ago.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

 

We won!

I was at the extraordinary council meeting last night to decide on the mosque application. I'm glad to say, nearly all of the councillors voted against the plan. Why it had to go to these length I don't know. There was little in the way new information. My suspicion is that previously the planning committee hadn't given the matter much thought and allowed themselves to be led by Councillor Bell. Perhaps next time they'll actually bother to read all the available documents. And if someone could chivvy them along as well; I've never seen so many people take so long to say so little.

I think we won in the end because we focused on the planning issues. When the other side spoke, most of them talked about their needs for a suitable place to pray and meet. No-one was denying that. What they failed to do was justify why it had to be on that site with that particular design.

We had Taj Hargey speaking on our behalf. He made the very good points that the proposed design wasn't a global mosque design but specific to certain parts of Asia: there is no need to have domes and minarets. And having separate prayer facilities for men and women (and the women's only about 25% of the size) isn't part of moderate Muslim belief.

The evening took at nasty turn at the end when someone threatening to kill Dr Hargey and he had to have a police escort away from the venue.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

 

In the papers

The mosque is now in the Telegraph and The Times.

People have been gathering outside Camberley Theatre already but the police have moved them on.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

 

Final meeting

For anyone going to the meeting on Wednesday, it is worth reading the council's final report: http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/council/committees/meetings.htm?pk_meeting=949&comid=4

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

 

Alan Hilliar and Camberley Mosque

Alan Hillier has posted an article about the mosque of the LibDem website. It's almost as if he hasn't read the English Heritage report. I've sent them my comments but who knows if they'll make it through moderation. If not, here they are:

In response to reflections on the Camberley Mosque planning application (by Alan Hilliar on 3rd March 2010):

> I've visited the London Road site and studied the plans the plans for the proposed traditional mosque carefully.

Comparing these comments with the English Heritage report makes interesting readings. Your statements about what you state EH think and what they have actually written seem to diverge somewhat. The EH report is at https://www.public.surreyheath-online.gov.uk/whalecom60b1ef305f59f921/whalecom0/Scripts/DocsOnLine/39807_15.pdf

> As regards the value or character of the existing buildings, in my view it's only the old 1906 infants' school that is more interesting architecturally, and that would be retained with the current application.

But EH state that "the crowding of the Infants' School denies it the space usually desirable for this size of building" They also say that "it is wrong to deny that the building is part of a group and wrong to deny that it is related to other buildings".

> The Council has (in 2002) already granted permission to knock down most of the main school building, retaining only the front wall and Surrey County Council and

About the previous plan EH say "the permission granted in 2003 would not, if full implemented, affect this interest very significantly, as the shape and evolution of the building would continue to be legible". This is completely different to the new plan.

> English Heritage have said they think the main school building doesn't contribute significantly to the character of the area.

EH say that the building is "significant in its own right" and that "the building as it stands makes a positive contribution to the conservation area".

> Having read the other comments on the various web sites very carefully, I don't think the issues are around the size and shape of the proposed new building. It sounds as if the main points are that a traditional mosque feels out of place in a very public location like the London Road and that it seems to symbolise an intrusion into our traditional English culture. Perhaps also it seems to jar that a Victorian school should be replaced by a traditional Mosque.

I am tempted not to attempt to respond to the issues other than the design aspect because it is difficult to do so without being accused of racism. However, I will attempt to do so.

Is fighting to preserve visible aspects of your culture and history wrong?

> In terms of the making the appearance of the proposed new mosque building more acceptable, we could perhaps ask the applicants to soften the impact of the new building by putting more tree planting along the London Road, so that you would see very little of the traditional mosque as you drove along the road. We could ask that they cover the outside of the building in (say) traditional Victorian red brick, so that the colour would blend in with the TA centre next door.

Perhaps if they'd stated in the plans what they were going to build it with, we could discuss it. As it stands, we've no idea what materials it will use which seems unreasonable for a conservation area.

> But beyond specific design issues, I don't think that in reality, a traditional mosque would represent a threat to our culture. We have plenty of traditions of our own which underpin our sense of identity as a country and a community.

One of those traditions is our architecture so demolishing our historic buildings is a threat to our culture. Yes we have plenty of other areas of culture but that doesn't mean we should be happy about part of our heritage and culture being destroyed.

Perhaps if it was a well designed mosque, more people might agree with you. Again quoting from the EH report "the submitted design does not have have enough architectural quality" and "it is hard to see how the character of the area ... could have been a key factor that informed the design"

> I don't think we need to feel in any way threatened by this application, and I don't feel that it holds the symbolic value that some would suggest.

The fact that you don't see a symbolic value in the design does not mean that there isn't a strong symbolism in it. Having a traditional mosque so close to the RMA will be seen by people of both sides of the debate as symbolic. Therefore the symbolism of the design has to be considered. It doesn't matter whether the symbolism is intentional, that symbolism still exists. Even you agree that there is a significant symbolism when you say "it seems to symbolise (to others) an intrusion into our traditional English culture".

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