Mosque Let Down By Racist Council
PUBLISHED: 09:43 24 September 2010 | UPDATED: 09:51 24 September 2010
THE leader of a mosque has branded Havering Council "institutionally racist" after taking action against him for installing a fence and security grilles to stop Muslims from being attacked.
Kamal Siddiqui, who runs the mosque in Lessington Road, Romford, has been served with an enforcement notice and ordered to remove the hard surface at the front of the property, grilles on windows and a metal fence with gates because he has not applied for planning permission.
Mr Siddiqui said: “The council are just institutionally racist. They don’t want the mosque to be there and that’s the only reason they are saying that I have to remove them.”
Mr Siddiqui, who has converted a small bungalow into a mosque, fitted the grilles on the front window and put up a two-metre fence, including gates, in April after, he says, he was advised by police that there was nothing they could do to stop attacks.
Since 2006, Mr Siddiqui says he and his worshippers have been subjected to burglary, arson, vandalism, graffiti, windows have been smashed and stones hurled at the building.
He says he has been subjected to racial abuse and most recently he claims to have had a bottle of milk thrown through his letterbox, but he adds that since installing the grilles the number of attacks has reduced.
He said: “I only put up the security gates and the fencing because the police said that there was nothing they could do to help me and to stop it happening.
“I am sick and tired of having my life put at risk by these attacks and if the council can assure me that they are going to stop the attacks, then I will take it down.”
He argues that other mosques have taken similar measures without applying for planning permission.
He said: “It’s double standards because I know lots of other places that have high fencing and security grilles that do not have to apply for planning permission.
“They are just doing it because they want to get the mosque closed down.”
A Havering Council spokesman said: “We understand Mr Siddiqui’s desire to protect his property, however, security reinforcements on this scale need to have planning permission and need to take into account their effect on a residential area.
“We invited Mr Siddiqui to submit a planning application, however, one has not been submitted, leaving enforcement as our only option.”
The enforcement notice took affect from September 8 after Mr Siddiqui declined to appeal against it.
He has between three and six months to remove the security grilles and other structures or face possible prosecution or have them removed by the council.