The mosque would be used by Muslims from across West Oxfordshire who currently meet on the ground floor of the town hall. A planning application has been lodged with West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC).
Mr Hasan lodged an unsuccessful application for a mosque in 2007. He said he hopes people in Chipping Norton will now support the Muslim community’s plans. “There have been Muslims in Chipping Norton for about 30 years and I have lived here for 24 years,” he said. “Every day our numbers grow and we’re quite a big community now. . . It’s called a mosque but it’s nothing like the traditional mosques you see,” he said. “The meetings will only be for five or ten minutes at a time. In Chipping Norton there are 6,000 people and they have many churches in the town, so why not have a small mosque?”
One Chipping Norton resident has expressed concern about the timing of the application. Former town councillor John Grantham said: “This application has been submitted at a time when WODC and Chipping Norton Town Council will be closed for a large part of the consultation period, but objections have to be in by January 12, 2013. Notices have not been placed in prominent positions. The people of Chipping Norton have a right to be made aware of this controversial application.”
The site lies within a development of small businesses. Mr Grantham said: “It has always been a business premises and I don’t think the district council’s policies allow business premises to be changed and I don’t see it as a good reason to change this particular one.”
There is a picture of the worshippers, presumably taken in the Town Hall. Where are the women? Any picture of churchgoers would include families of men and women. Islam is different, but we know that. The Witney Gazette quotes Cllr Hasan at at little more length.
The town’s 30-strong Muslim community currently worships in the Town Hall on Fridays, but Mr Hasan said it was not a sacred enough place for prayer.
The father-of-three said: “We need a permanent place and we need a place where there is no drinking or dancing, only peaceful prayer. We hope the new mosque will be a more sacred place.”
If planning permission is granted, the new mosque would open between sunrise and one hour after sunset for prayers five times a day. Mr Hasan said he did not plan to hold religious teaching and said the mosque would only be open for about 10 minutes at a time for the prayers.
" . . . one day, seven years ago, I decided to start Friday prayer and, after looking at every venue in the town, I found a place in the Town Hall.” The group now welcomes Muslims from Moreton-in-Marsh, Woodstock and Witney, and has up to 50 worshippers at a time. But sharing space with the kaffir isn't good enough for them.
Two years ago, Mr Hasan also started a Friday prayer group at Chipping Norton School for its eight Muslim students. He said it was important Chipping Norton had a mosque so the next generation did not lose their identity.
I hope local residents are aware of Mosquebusters.