Camberley Mosque 259

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.

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259 thoughts on “Camberley Mosque

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  • dreoilin

    That’s the gist of it, MJ. The story has been embellished, of course, about teaching the Trinity with the shamrock, etc. And there was more than one bishop, as far as I know. He didn’t convert Ireland on his own. But they’ve been rolled into one as St. Patrick. I don’t think snakes had got this far before the island was cut off after the last ice age. They say that the snakes (in the story) are a symbol for the Celtic druids which he banned.

  • Richard Robinson

    What, for that matter, about the creeping JehovahsWitnessification of the country ?

    They’re the only people I’ve ever had knocking on my door wanting to convert me to their beliefs.

  • technicolour

    I got lost in a stone circle in Cornwall once. We stumbled on it, accidentally, out on the moors. It was only about 100 metres wide, and outside it was Cornish moor stormy; but once you got inside, the air was almost completely calm. Something to do with vibrations from the granite, we figured, but we became utterly disorientated. Very curious experience.

    brian: I still don’t understand about ‘Islamification’. Do you mean that if many Muslim people move in to an area the pubs will close down?

  • MJ

    “They say that the snakes (in the story) are a symbol for the Celtic druids which he banned”.

    That would make sense. Over here ancient sacred sites were often appropriated by the Christians who built churches on them, often dedicated to St Michael, who slew dragons.

  • MJ

    “They’re the only people I’ve ever had knocking on my door wanting to convert me to their beliefs”.

    Yes, them and the folk from Sky TV.

  • Charlie Main

    I live in Camberley and went tot hat school

    It is almost the only peice of history our town has and to knock it down to suit 1800 people was an utter discgrace.

    There was no Islamapphobia in Camberley before this happened and with good luck there wont be any going forward but in this case the silent majority became very very vocal. There is nothing wrong with people feeling a town is their town and I am rpoud to be part of the protest and I hope it encourages others to stand up for what the majority so often wants and so seldom gets

  • Richard Robinson

    “Yes, them and the folk from Sky TV.”

    Good point, I hadn’t thought of that. And all the power-bill cults, too.

  • JimmyGiro

    I didn’t realise there was a Whalley Range in Blackburn as well as Manchester. This caused me to look up the Manchester WR on wiki, and noted that its population is less than 50% White British, as at 2001. The Blackburn WR is described as having a large Muslim community with almost all residents being from India and Pakistan.

    By the way, what happened to the Danes?

  • technicolour

    Er, Mr Main, they didn’t knock it down. I must say, you sound like you had remarkably happy school days. Good for you.

    I have no fear of cults, religious or otherwise, since I have already been taken over by my computer. By choice, I’d be a dowser.

  • technicolour

    Mmm. The thing about Blackburn is that its council has created apartheid estates for the poorer people who need council housing. Quite simply, people with different complexions get housed in different areas. It’s like a particularly dull jigsaw puzzle.

    The resulting regional concentrations do not prove, or demonstrate anything else about Blackburn as a whole, however. Or Manchester. Or the UK.

    The Danes were great, weren’t they?

  • Craig

    What happened to the Danes?

    Actually they still live in Sheringham. Fun to see the Sheringham Tesco referenced by people who presumably don’t realise I come from there. My mum lives literally just across the road from the proposed new Tesco and it would make her life much easier.

    Disgracefully, Sheringham’s beautiful Victorian primary school – which brung me up – was demolished about twenty years ago and replaced with ugly modern flats.

  • technciolour

    MJ: No I haven’t – I think Children of the Stones put me off. Seen Stonehenge from a distance, though. And lent someone my Julian Cope book before I got a chance to explore it and never saw it again, drat.

  • brian

    What is islamification? Not sure what it has to do with pubs, might ask around tonight at The Mullah’s Arms.

    Isn’t islamification the changing of a place from one particular culture and ethnic profile to a generally islamic and new ethnic profile. In England for instance this would often be from white, church of england (at least for weddings and funerals) to pakistani and muslim. Would that be a fair definition? Is there a better term?

  • John

    For me, religion is mythology and should be left to Sunday schools for those interested. When religion has power, it has proven to be tyrannical, obstructive and oppressive.

    Some religious buildings can look beautiful–and mosques with minarets are among these, but they do not blend-in everywhere.

    People are important, regardless of their beliefs, or non-beliefs, but danger comes with imposition of their ways, upon others.

    Unfortunately, the British people, who are not part of the ruling elite, have never been able, or allowed to cohere through centuries of being brow-beaten and subjected to the most extreme social and industrial changes. This may be why so many are volatile and suspicious of “outsiders” who appear to be stronger in their communities and beliefs.

    Those who make political choices for the masses, seldom dwell or frequent the same habitat–and when there is an outbreak of racial or ethnic violence, they (who make free with others’ charity) appear with lofty sanctimonious admonishments.

    It is left to mixed communities to solve problems reasonably and respect established mores, rather than push for a conclusion from a base of paranoia.

  • dreoilin

    The Danes seem to have settled in quite some numbers here, despite Brian Boru, et al. Dublin originated as a Viking settlement around the 9th century. Aside from Wood Quay, they’ve recently found a Viking “3-bed semi-D” on the north side of the city:

  • Clark

    “They’re the only people I’ve ever had knocking on my door wanting to convert me to their beliefs”.

    Hey! I had to do that when I was a kid!

    If you get fed up with them, tell them to put a note in their house-to-house record that you’d rather not be visited; that used to work for one year.

  • Su

    As a Camberley resident, it would appear that the main objection voiced by many other Camberley residents, has not received the airtime that the arguments put forward by the protagonists; namely the traffic congestion that would result on the A30.

    A larger mosque would attract many more people in cars. As most people who are familiar with this stretch of the A30,since the implementation of the bus lane, traffic is often stationary down to the Meadows round-about. The entrance to the Mosque is not currently controlled by traffic lights.

    Why has no-one proposed that the money that would have been used to build the new mosque, be used to renovate the interior of the current building, or build on a site that would not cause such congestion to other users of the A30?

  • Richard Robinson

    “If you get fed up with them, tell them to put a note in their house-to-house record that you’d rather not be visited; that used to work for one year.”

    Thanks Clark. I remember you mentioning you used to be one, now you remind me.

    I don’t really object, though, they’re reasonably respectful about it, go away quietly if I tell them I’m too busy and not interested. I don’t always do that. One time, they came with some shtick about did I know that there was this huge planet up in the sky called Saturn, and how it had seven suns orbiting around it, and wasn’t that wonderful and how could something that fantastic be, without a God to have thought of it ? So I felt I ought to do them the favour of converting them to The Truth, that being my idea of astronomical knowledge (ie “Oh no, there isn’t !”) … I told them I was comfortable with my current faith (agnosticism) and had no wish to abandon it, but if they’d care for a cup of tea anyway they were welcome to come in and chat. (It was peeing down with rain, the house was warm). Half an hour later we seemed to end up agreeing that what they really meant by it was that a lot of people were unhappy, and they wanted to tell people that the world was a much nicer and more wonderful place than they might think. Which I thought was nice of them, really, even if I did think the details were mistaken. They never offered to burn me at the stake once, which is where I do draw the line.

  • Richard Robinson

    “They never offered to burn me at the stake once, which is where I do draw the line.”

    Perhaps I should clarify – nor did I offer to burn them, either.

  • MJ

    “nor did I offer to burn them, either”

    Very noble of you.

    Still, I’d rather have someone on my doorstep spouting nonsense about the seven suns of Saturn than someone quoting from Verse 1, Chapter 1 of the Holy Book of Murdoch: “We woz just fixin’ up some of your neighbours wiv Sky and woz wonderin’ wevver…” etcetera and Amen.

  • Richard Robinson

    Ah, now, when I hear someone telling me I should have television, I do reach for my blowtorch.

    But, if I could try and wrench myself back to Camberley, where I’ve never been … it sounds as though there might be architectural / planning issues, and maybe a bit of hi-jacking too ?

  • John

    I can’t remember walking through the wardrobe, but I’d better find my way out of here.

    Another brandy my good fellow.

  • Clark

    The Witnesses get the semi scientific stuff from their “Awake!” magazine, but I’m sure it would have said “moons”.

    Now I come to think of it, the news notes near the back of either that one or “The Watchtower” is, if I remember rightly, a semi-decent alternative news source – of a slightly different flavour from say, – probably less outright rubbish than Rense, but more biased. But stories the mainstream tend only to own up to later. They love pointing out where “The World” has got it wrong.

    Good to hear from Su from Camberley. Of course no one will mention the word “cars” in the same sentence as “Problem” – that upsets far too many people.

  • arsalan

    I really think the likes of the UKIP and the BNP couldn’t careless about buildings, listed or otherwise.

    What concerns them, are brown faces, Islamic or otherwise.

    Now that the planning permission that was granted has been removed, no prises for guessing that the next location chosen by the Bengalis for their Mosque will face protests from these same people?

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