Although I’m a Manchester resident and York graduate, my family mostly live in the Black Country, and so occasionally will update me on the to-ings and fro-ings of local news back in the Heart of England.
Last week my Mom mentioned that over in Lichfield a bit of a row had broken out over a local resident who, after living in the city for 25 years, had decided that he wanted to open a mosque. He was, it seemed, facing a lot of opposition from people who felt the presence of a mosque in the vicinity of Lichfield Cathedral would…you know, to be honest I still can’t work out what their worry is. I did some research (i.e. looked on Facebook…well, that’s all BBC News did) to try and find out what the concerns were…
‘you shouldnt be able to build on my garden same as you shouldnt be able to build in my country england has never looked as bad as it does now its a dump and int never been that way but india as never been anythin like the uk just exsept u may be inteligent or what ever but indian people arnt with modern living they cant just get there hed down and get on they have to keep a hold of the past and they find it to easy to keep using rasism as a cover rather that exseptine they are ever wrong dont ever exspect people to give there country to a 3rd world nation never…..‘
‘tell me how a mosque fits in with the surrounding area? people get their planning permission rejected due to it not fitting in with the needs of the surrounding area but how does a mosque with a gold roof fit in with anything?‘
You’re right, it is better when all buildings look the same. That’s why, by a local bye-law, everyone in Lichfield has to have a cathedral. Each.
‘do you not think the errection of all the mosques is the fault of our elected governemtn?’
…yes? No. Not sure. I was confused by the double negative there.
‘Islam is a relgious pepperpot. it does exactly what it does on the tin. They aren’t seeking asylum they are purposely imported to create an army to remove all the undesirables within this society – namely anyone that won’t submit. It’s all about the New World order. When the shit hits the fan all hell will let loose. Islam is a small part to a bigger game.‘
OK, I’m more or less replicating spEak You’re bRanes now, and in any case it isn’t really fair. The people behind the Facebook group, and many of its members, are clearly appalled at the level of racism being shown by a small, vocal and grammatically-challenged minority. There are, therefore, surely people who oppose the mosque on rational grounds. Take this comment from local MP, Michael ‘Yes, I really did pay money for this wig’ Fabricant:
“The promoters of the idea are asking for amplified calls to prayer and domes and minarets in the conservation area. That, I believe, would be unacceptable to the majority of my constituents and is also unacceptable to me.”
The comments on the call to prayer may be fair enough – proposals to have the adhan recited in other cities in the UK have indeed proved very unpopular with the public, particularly in Oxford. But domes and minarets in the conservation area? To me, that sounds inoffensive – it sounds like architecture, in fact – but it doesn’t matter what I think, and it doesn’t matter one tiny bit what Michael Fabricant thinks, because it’s down to the local authority. And this is just a guess on my part, but I can’t help thinking that you don’t get planning permission to build something in the conservation area around Lichfield Cathedral unless it looks like it was built 1300 hundred years ago. In Lichfield.
Which would mean that Michael Fabricant’s comments are what, boys and girls? That’s right, they are political opportunism. And who do we know who gets so much practice at political opportunism that they could represent Britain in the political opportunism event in the 2012 Olympics? …No, not Hazel Blears. I mean the BNP, obviously. Here they come, over the hill, in their lorry of lies, tootling their little fascist horn.
The BNP love going to overwhelmingly white cities and telling the voters that hordes of swarthier people are even now banging on the gates, demanding to be let in so that they can build curry houses and hold a mela. They did it in York…for all I know they’re planning a big push in Cheltenham. And, of course, they jumped at the chance to take the Lorry of Lies* to Lichfield (I am enjoying my alliteration this evening, oh yes I am), sending an activist to take a photo of the cathedral for their propaganda.
Heartiest congratulations, therefore, to the Archdeacon of Lichfield, Chris Liley, who told them to stop taking photographs and to get their van out of the Cathedral’s precincts.
Over at the (wonderfully web-literate) Diocese of Lichfield, there’s more: apparently ‘The Cathedral authorities will be writing to the BNP to demand that they not publish any promotional or marketing material which uses the Cathedral as a backdrop or which implies any endorsement of the BNP’s views or policies by the Cathedral.’
And the Ven. Chris Liley went on to say “Lichfield Cathedral encourages people to vote in elections and we seek to engage with all legitimate politicians. But we will not endorse any particular candidate or party and it is wrong for any party to seek to use the Cathedral in a way which might imply endorsement, regardless of how much we may support or oppose what they stand for.”
Make what you will of the reference to ‘legitimate politicians’; the statement is not as candid as the Bishop of Manchester’s outright condemnation of the BNP as a party of ‘division, fear and hatred’; but the Archdeacon made it pretty clear what he thinks of the party’s ‘Jesus was a fascist too‘ campaign, saying:
“The BNP are wrong to suggest that Jesus would vote for the BNP. I don’t know who he would vote for, but his parable of the Good Samaritan was a clear example about the value we should place on people from other communities.
Meanwhile, a leaked internal guide for senior BNP activists reveals what anyone in the blogosphere already knew…goodnight, folks 🙂
*Incidentally, they seem to have pinched the name ‘Truth Truck’ from an organisation in America that drives a fleet of trucks around the nation’s abortion clinics to frighten vulnerable women into continuing with unwanted pregnancies. Right up their alley I guess.