Immediate 19.30 hrs Tuesday 27th February 2007
Dudley residents were celebrating tonight as the local planning committee refused permission for a huge mosque in the city centre.
The mosque would have been built on industrial land close to the heart of Dudley. Local Christians were concerned about security issues, community cohesion, and the Islamicisation that would have followed building the centre.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said tonight:
'I am delighted that this mosque application has fallen at its first hurdle. It had started off claiming to be 'the pride of Dudley.' It had a minaret that would have made it the tallest building in Dudley, an important spiritual statement for Muslims with strong political overtones. Even the latest project had a minaret of some 65'.
'One of the reasons Christians should be celebrating tonight is that the refusal of planning permission for the mosque has shut the door on the British National Party in Dudley. The BNP was set to exploit any granting of planning permission in the May elections. This sensible decision pulls the rug from under them.
'However, the man behind the mosque, Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, who is believed to have strong connections with No 10, has the option of re-igniting the row by appealing to the Central Government Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. Our prayer is that he will see the futility of that and withdraw the application completely.
'But just for now, we are praising God for His strength and giving Him the glory. This decision could have gone either way. It went the right way, and for that we are grateful.'