Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Green road mosque "paused" at cabinet

One of the controversial items on the agenda at cabinet last night was the Green road mosque.

The cabinet agenda papers can be found here.

This item appears twice on the agenda. The first appearance was the confidential stuff, the second appearance – item 12 – was reporting the decision in public with a bit of debate.

As I said at the meeting I support the idea of a purpose-built mosque in east Reading for the broad Muslim community to worship at. When the planning application came forward previously I raised a number of transport issues on behalf of residents, but the meeting last night wasn't about the planning application but about control of the project.

This is a very complicated area but to summarise the Labour administration didn't like the Coalition administration's scheme for the Alexandra road mosque to control a new mosque at Green road. Labour therefore have moved to end the lease and the sale of the land at Green road and pause the project.

I'm not on cabinet so I had no vote on this, but I still felt uncomfortable that amongst other things by wanting to change control of this project Labour seemed to be expressing a preference for one type of Islam over another.

Unfortunately I fear that the Muslim community will be used as a political football on this issue and we will go back to press releases on this project involving Labour councillors ahead of local elections. Hopefully I will be proved wrong and an acceptable solution can be found.

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