Churches slam nimbyism over Mosque plan

A proposed march against the conversion of a pub into a mosque looks like it will not go ahead, while a church collective has countered a “negative and scaremongering” anonymous leaflet.

A member of the English Defence League, calling himself Stevenage Man, said a march of up to 1500 people would take place on July 17 in protest at an application to turn The White Horse pub in Stevenage into a Bangladeshi cultural centre and place of worship.

But despite the member’s insistence on gaining official support for the march, the EDL leadership has insisted it has no plans for Stevenage and does not oppose the building of mosques.

A spokesman told The Comet: “We will contact you in the event of this changing so you can be the first to break the news.”

And despite a claim by the EDL member to have sent a “two-page letter” to Herts police informing them of the march, they have had no warning of any action. A police spokesman said any march would need 28 days notice, and would be dispersed if this had not been given.

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Church Together, a collective of six Stevenage churches, said it supports the plan to convert the former pub and was opposed to a “negative and scare-mongering” anonymous leaflet which had been posted to streets surrounding the proposed Albert Street site, as well as recommendations for upping security.

Senior minister of Bunyan Baptist Church and chairman of the group, Dave Morris, said: “From our contact with the community, we know and respect those who are different from us. The greatest commandment, Jesus said, is that we love God wholly and that we love our neighbour as ourselves. What a sad indictment of our town that security measures are deemed necessary to protect a minority community and its facilities. How sad that nimbyism gives the clear message: “You are not welcome.”

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