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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

MP opposes plan for mosque in Lichfield

Yet another instance of selective concerns on the part of one of Britain's MPs. Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has expressed reservations about a scheme supported by the city's Muslims to build a mosque and create a Muslim burial ground even before an application reached the planning department of the local authority. Mr Fabricant warned against a development which, in his opinion, would not be in-keeping with the character of the city. While he acknowledges that  it is for the Council to make its own planning decisions, his own view is 'that domes and minarets are not appropriate in a heritage City like Lichfield'.

Commenting on the possibility of an amplified system of calling the faithful toprayers, Mr Fabricant said
“I do not think it right that those not of the Muslim faith should be subjected to calls to prayer against their will. Tolerance works both ways and one religion should not seek to impose itself on those of another or no religion.”
It is alarming to see yet again British politicians irresponsibly making statements that provide fodder for racist abuse of members of the community. Mr. Fabricant seems to have become desensitized to the call to prayers that church bells represent in Christian cities and not to be particularly concerned about non-oriental architectural interventions that are not appropriate in our heritage cities such as Lichfield. What is more, the MPs hasty and irresponsible stance has legitimized or at least encouraged a part of the local society to express its contempt for their Muslim neighbours under the guise of objecting to the building of a local mosque.  

In a facebook group Against the mosque being built in Lichfield that has attracted over 8,000 members and which emphatically states that it is kept free of racism, Muslims are subjected to verbal abuse, being called 'parasites, in need of being rounded up, placed on the boat and sent back to their 3rd world sh*thole that they came from'. A group fan, addressing Muslims tells them to 'go preaching their Islam crap' in their countries of origin and another remarks: 'the majority of our brown muslim brothers agree with killing inocent [sic] non muslim people/ infidels as we are known to them' and 'this country is getting raped by these parasites'.

Group fans compete in making outrageous pronouncements and draw on others' approval in order to enhance their group status. Here, the denigration of one's Muslim neighbours  becomes a convenient means for the development and strengthening of group identity and for gaining respect and status. It is almost compulsory for some of the contributors to the paranoid slander hosted in the discussions of the group to stress the brown skin of Muslim and equate them once more with crime and terrorism.

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