1:45pm Tuesday 24th June 2014
A MOSQUE open day is to be held in a bid to quell fears about the impact of controversial plans to build 21ft high minarets and a central dome on top of a former Halesowen Methodist Church.
The proposed additions to the Long Lane Baitul Ghafoor Mosque led to a storm of protest from neighbours when they were revealed earlier this month.
But the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association is anxious to play down fears that it is trying to dominant the landscape.
Halesowen North UKIP councillor Stuart Henley said the idea for an open day, arranged for Saturday (June 28) followed a meeting he had with association leaders.
Members of the public are invited to visit the mosque between noon and 4pm to ask questions about the proposal.
Local president Dr Masood Majoka said “In present day society, unfortunately mosques are seen as symbols of dominance or territorialness.
“Because of the actions of radical Muslims, people see minarets and mosques as some kind of a threat. We are committed to make them symbols of peace.
He added: “We should tolerate each other, learn from each other and work with each other for the good of our local community.
“We want to reassure the people of Halesowen that we do not entertain any thoughts of hate for anyone, anywhere.”
Twenty objections have been received by Dudley Council so far, including letters from Halesowen North councilors Hilary Bills and Karen Shakespeare, who fear it will be out of character for the area.
Around 35 letters of support have been submitted although only half a dozen are from local addresses, with the majority from places including Sandwell, Birmingham and Worcester.
Netherton Green Party councillor Will Duckworth is also backing the plans.
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