Halesowen mosque dome is rejected after hundreds of complaints

Two 29ft decorative minarets and a domed roof will not be built on top of a mosque in Halesowen after hundreds of objections.

Halesowen mosque dome is rejected after hundreds of complaints

The controversial plans by Muslim leaders to extend The Baitul Ghafoor Mosque on Long Lane have been thrown out by Dudley Council.

More than 225 residents signed a petition opposing the plans, fearing the minarets and dome would be out of keeping with the building, which is a former Methodist church.

There were also concerns the development would increase the profile of the mosque and lead to more visitors as well as noise and traffic.

Dudley Council has refused planning permission for the minarets and dome, saying work would be 'highly inappropriate and immensely damaging' to the building.

But today mosque leaders hit back at the complaints, saying all they wanted were symbols of an Islamic mosque - describing them as the equivalent of a church spire.

They have vowed to appeal the council decision.

The Ahmadiyya Mosque was opened inside the former Methodist Church two years ago and in May leaders applied for planning permission to add a central dome and minarets.

Halesowen North Councillor Karen Shakespeare said: "I had a lot of residents contact me and I fully supported them.

"I am really pleased it has been refused. It doesn't affect their worship and I hope they won't appeal because they are keen to work as part of the community and I hope they understand now that it is not something the community feel is right for the area."

However Dr Muhammad Ashraf, from The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which is behind the application, he believes the plans were opposed by residents who misunderstand Islam.

Dr Ashraf claims that hatred towards the religion is more of a reason than the effects on the landscape.

He said: "The local people don't know the facts. Islam is a peaceful religion and the Muslims here are peace loving people, we do a lot for the community.

"We will be appealing. Justice is for everybody not just a few people. All we are asking for is the symbols of our community, they are the symbols of an Islamic mosque, just like a church spire. I think the application has not been assessed properly by the council."

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