Halesowen mosque deal could be reached

A councillor has vowed to work with Muslim leaders to reach a compromise after extension plans for a mosque in Halesowen were refused.

Halesowen mosque deal could be reached

Now Halesowen North Councillor Stuart Henley, who backed the petition against the plans, wants to work with religious leaders on a solution to suit the entire community.

Mr Henley has suggested that the applicants reduce the building work proposed and apply for permission to only build the domed roof.

Mr Henley believes it is the towering minarets proposed for the top of the Islamic place of worship that residents have reacted angrily over after petitioners argued that the minarets would overlook neighbouring homes.

Mr Henley said: "Now the appeal has been refused it would be good to all come together and compromise on just the dome which will still see the once Methodist church have an Islamic symbol and hopefully keep everyone happy. All can then move on in peace, loyalty and respect working close for future events in the community."

Mr Henley added: "I will be arranging another meeting in the near future to see if we can come to a compromise to please all."

Mr Henley rejected comments made by Dr Muhammad Ashraf, of The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, who claimed the plans were rejected because of hatred towards the religion, more so than the effects on the landscape.

After the proposals were refused Dr Ashraf said: "Local people don't know the facts, Islam is a peaceful religion. All we are asking for is a symbol for the community, like a church spire."

Mr Henley said: "New church builds are rarely built with spires as these are no longer needed to call people to prayer and the mosques need to follow suit. These builds are mainly in residential areas where the builds do not fit in towering over homes. Residents would object if there was a church in the place of Long Lanes Ahmadiyya Mosque wishing to build a spire to the same height of the proposed minarets."

Mr Mohammad Khan, National Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, said the suggestion by Mr Henley is one that they were considering.

Mr Khan said: "We are in the process of reviewing the application and would be happy to sit down with our neighbours and discuss a compromise that everyone would be happy with. We are sensitive to the concerns of the community and are happy to listen to everyone's views."

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