I was surprised a while back when a friend told me she had been celebrating Eid at Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall. The reason is very simple – the current Cambridge Mosque is housed in a fairly small building on Mawson Road and cannot accommodate everyone who wants to worship there. So a new mosquehas been planned on nearby Mill Road.
I saw today in the local paper that the EDL plans to march in protest against the new mosque on 9 July. They explain:The usual vitriol, bigotry and inanity in the comment thread. A small number of more sensible comments, however:
“We are against the building of this mosque which will be the biggest in East Anglia and we have had a lot of people in Cambridge contacting us who are worried about it. We are against the building of all mosques because they preach homophobia and anti-Semitism which we should not tolerate in this country.”This blog has featured many posts on homophobic and antisemitic groups and preachers. I am fully in favour of exposing such activities. But there is a big difference between criticising specific instances of bigotry and protesting against plans for a replacement mosque in a city which contains countless churches of all denominations, two synagogues and a Hindu Temple.
This is a typical ‘worried’ response, which was posted on the Cambridge News website.
I live very close to Mill Rd and most of my neighbours are fed up with the muslimisation of Mill rd, I have been walked into by muslim men, spat on as I cycled down mill road and so on . The muslims near to me say they want to take over Mill rd and that once their mosque is built it will happen. We are selling our home as we dont want to be near a mosque and suprisingly ONLY muslims have viewed our property so far.I’ve lived in this area for ten years – a few minutes away from both the new and the old mosque sites – and this is completely absurd. I’ve never had any concerns about the ‘muslimisation’ of Mill Road – though I am a bit concerned at the prospect of a visit from the EDL.
Brownie: As it happens, I live just outside Cambridge and spent many of my formative years getting pissed on or near to Mill Road. Mill Road is where you want to live in Cambridge when you’re young and social. I’m still a regular visitor and the idea it is threatened by “muslimification” is racist pot-stirring, simple as.
Moobs: What is it that those commenters who oppose the mosque hope to achieve?Is the idea that if the State denies Muslims (and, it would seem from the comments, only Muslims) facilities to worship that that will somehow defeat jihadism? Does it really take more than a moment’s thought to recognise how unlikely an outcome that is? The muslims of Cambridge would rightly feel they were being singled out and discriminated against.
To rail against “multiculturalism” and identity politics and then to insist that all Muslims be treated as suspicious is plain idiocy. We need to combat the notion that our nation should be divided into discrete communities and that whatever self-appointed loudmouth who steps forward and claims to represent each community has to be engaged with and deferred to. To lump all Muslims together (or all Jewish people, black people, Irish etc.) just plays to the agenda of these petty demagogues.
This isn’t a left or right wing issue; it is a question of those who believe in the Rule of Law and those who do not. There is freedom of religion in this country and those who would have it otherwise, whether they be Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Jedi can expect to be vigorously opposed.
Would that there more people who, like Sarah, are not prepared to surrender to prejudice.
Vildechaye: There is an existing mosque that, by the sound of it, harms nobody. I would think that is what everybody would like to see from all the mosques in the U.K. And that little, harmless Cambridge mosque is what this thread is about. To conflate expanding that mosque with radical islam, the east london mosque, or any other Islamist/Salafi group or facility seems to be the very definition of bigotry.Alfie: The EDL take their image of Islam, and their contention of Muslims being a unitary undifferentiated mass, straight out of the Islamist textbook. There is a mirroring of binary bigotry between Islamic Identity Politics, and the EDL.