As someone who devotes much energy to battling Islamophobia, it is important equally to oppose false cries of Islamophobia whenever any Muslim group is thwarted. Otherwise “Islamophobic” will become a meaningless pejorative just as “Anti-semitic” is thrown at any rational critic of Israel.
Having looked at the dispute over Camberley Mosque, I feel that it is the Bengali community which is acting with gross insensitivity. They wish to pull down a listed Victorian building to build a mosque. I would oppose that were the proposed replacement a mosque, synagogue, church or Tesco.
The old scholl has in fact been in use for many years as an Islamic centre. There is no threat to that. It is demolition of the building which is objected to.
It strikes me that the very large and sturdy building looks ideal for sympathetic internal conversion to make it a better mosque. Failing that, the community can do what anybody else has to do whose needs have outgrown a listed building, and move the mosque elsewhere.
I encountered a similar arrogance and insensitivity from some members of the Muslim community while campaigning on Whalley Range in Blackburn, when I was faced with a demand that a pub close to a mosque be closed down. I replied that the pub had been there for over a hundred years before the mosque.
The deliberate spread of fear and hatred of Muslims by politicians, media and security services is a real problem. But what we must insist is that Muslims are treated both no worse and no better than anybody else.