At least 30 people were arrested Saturday night following a demonstration by a far-right group against a planned mosque construction in the small English town of Dudley. The protest was led by the English Defense League or EDL that saw participation of up to 1,000 of its members amid a heavy police presence.
“I have never seen so many policemen here,” said Maria Mina, owner of the only cafe shop that was open on what supposed to have been the busiest day for business in the small town. Extra police force was deployed in Dudley since early hours of Saturday and entrance to the town center was restricted for vehicles as hundreds of fascist EDL members came to the town by cars, coaches and trains.
EDL members were allowed to march to Priory Road where they made harsh anti-Islam speeches, carried Islamophobic banners and English flags in front of the Dudley Council. “Islam go to hell” and “More Islam less freedom” read some of the banners.
In a counter demonstration organized by United Against Fascism approximately 50 meters away from the Dudley Central Mosque at Castle Street, Dudley’s local people repeatedly gave out the messages of unity and togetherness. “Love music, hate racism” was the main slogan of the gathering that hosted about 300 people.
Taxpayers will pick up a $100,000 bill for the planning inquiry which resurrected plans for a Black Country mosque, it has been revealed. The cost of the four-day hearing will be met by Dudley Council after the Government’s planning inspectorate overturned its decision to reject the $18 million proposal. The authority was forced to hire security staff to police the summit at the inspector’s request – but will not receive a penny from Whitehall to cover costs. The decision to allow the appeal for the project in Hall Street, Dudley, was this week announced after the public inquiry in June. Dudley Council boss David Caunt described the decision as a “sad day” for local democracy saying it ignored the 22,000 people who signed a petition in opposition. And Councillor Caunt said that the $100,000 bill rubbed salt in the wound. “I’m very frustrated that a one man government-appointed judge and jury can turn up, listen to the arguments for four days and drive around the borough before coming to the conclusion that he knows better than the locals. The councillor added: “And then we have to pick up the bill for it.
A decision is due to be made on whether an application to build an $18m mosque in the West Midlands will be allowed. Dudley Council turned down the application to build the mosque in the town on the grounds the land had been designated for employment purposes. The town’s Muslim Association appealed to the government’s Planning Inspectorate which held an inquiry into the matter. The inspectorate is due to reveal its decision later. The council received hundreds of letters from residents opposing the mosque.
The public gallery at an inquiry over Dudley’s controversial _18million mosque plans will be limited to just 50 seats. Those who want to be at the hearing, scheduled to start on June 10 at 10am and last four-days, are now being urged to arrive early for a seat. The inquiry is being held after Dudley Muslim Association lodged an appeal against the council’s decision to reject their plans for for a mosque and community centre on derelict land in Hall Street. A total of 70 petitions containing more than 22,000 signatures have been handed to the council from people protesting against the plans. There is expected to be scores of people vying to be in the public gallery but the council will have to turn some away. People wishing to speak during the course of the inquiry are also warned they need to contact the council by June 7 to register their intention or they will not be allowed to have their voice heard. Dudley Council spokesman Phil Parker said: “The inspectorate, however, makes it clear that if there are several people with the same views a spokesperson should be appointed to speak on behalf of the others to avoid repetition of arguments.” At the start of the inquiry the inspector will outline the formal procedure. The barrister appointed by Dudley Muslim Association will make a number of opening remarks followed by the council’s barrister. Witnesses for both parties will give evidence and will be open to cross examination. After closing statements, the inspector will close the inquiry and then carry out a site visit, during which there will be no further discussion.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=5E054DF78C183F2420D2E0C6&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News