"There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word,
which means more to me than any other.
That word is ENGLAND." - Sir Winston Churchill
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Planning row as Islamic preacher refuses to stop using houses as mosque
A preacher has refused to stop using two knocked-through semi-detatched houses as a mosque and to knock down an ‘eyesore’ extension at the back.
Manchester council bosses say they will demolish it if he doesn’t and then send him the bill.
Abid Hussain didn’t get planning permission for a ‘change of use’ at the homes - or for the extension.
He appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ court in January after refusing to take down the large extension at his religious education centre on Northmoor Road in Longsight.
He was handed a £5,000 bill after being found guilty of breaching building regulations - and told he could not use the site for prayer or community use because he didn’t have planning permission.
Now, despite an appeal being overturned, Mr Hussain, 59, is refusing to knock the extension down or close The Masjid Siddique Akbar mosque.
Manchester council officers issued a legal notice demanding he stop using the site as a place of worship and remove the extension, but he refused. They say the issue has caused problems for residents living nearby.
Mr Hussain is refusing to back down, despite council bosses warning him in a statement after the trial they will step in and do the work themselves before ‘sending him the bill’.
He says the centre has ‘provided educational, religious and cultural facilities to the community for the last 12 years and that planning permission for the extension was refused in 2006, when it was built, and again in 2014.
Mr Hussain claims it is his and others’ ‘public civil right’ to pray there and that the council’s ‘threat’ it has caused a ‘high level of anger in the local Muslim community’.
He added: “It was built according to regulations. They refused planning permission because of car parking and because it is in a residential area.
“Most mosques like this are in residential areas. There’s a lot of politics behind the decision. Around 300 to 400 people come here to pray.
“If it is closed, where will the children go? It will mean a lot of trouble for them. The council needs to have sympathy. They’re trying to crush us.”
A council spokesman said: “The city council has been in contact with a Manchester resident to resolve an on-going planning issue.”
The Manchester Council of Mosques is working with the town hall to assist with the case.