Anonymous protests against the Cambridge ‘megamosque’

Some residents of Romsey Town (a suburb in southeast Cambridge) have been very suspicious of proposals for a new development on Mill Road.   A Facebook group was been set up to protest against it.  A campaign has attracted over three thousand signatories petitioning against the plan.  Those promoting the shunned building have gone to huge efforts to conciliate residents, inviting families to a public exhibition, and sending out 1,900 letters to households in the area.

This campaign (against Sainburys) does not seem to be attracting such passionate support amongst locals as the anti-Tesco campaign did a few years back, but I have certainly noticed the odd poster.  There were also many posters on display back in the summer, protesting against the EDL’s visit.  However I had come across no signs of opposition to the planned new mosque on Mill Road in the community until I read about this leaflet campaign.

I haven’t seen the full leaflet myself, despite living near the planned mosque.  However, it seems to combine an EDL style message, claiming the building is ‘intended to overbear its surroundings and to send a message of physical and numerical dominance’ with an appeal to potentially reasonable anxieties to do with traffic and parking – a sore issue for Cambridge residents.  So – here’s what seems to me to be a perfectly sensible comment in response to the report on the Cambridge News website.  (I’ve pasted it accurately – the last sentence doesn’t appear to be complete.)

I can’t see any problem with there being a dome on it, or it having a bit of height to it. I think that might add some much needed character to an otherwise decaying and rather ugly skyline of that part of the city. So thats to be welcomed. To argue that this mosque would be a visual problem is just scaremongering nonsense. I am however a little concerned about the traffic and how Mill Road (which is already congested).

Although that resident’s concern is rational, I remember similar anxieties whipped up by the anti-Tesco campaign – anxieties which now seem completely unfounded. This objection amused me:

The dome is a toytown compromise in relation to the size of the building.

The dome is too small – and there is no minaret! – that’s certainly a worry.  Here’s an alternative perspective:

The Catholic church was built on one of the busiest intersections in Cambridge with a steeple 214 feet high and only twenty car parking spaces. Thousands flock there to worship and the disruption is minimal.

One final comment:

How dare anyone who does not live in this area and is not tied to this area tell the people here ,that they should put up with the problems this will cause, and please stop insulting us by telling us this part of Mill Road is an eyesore, it is not and it our home.

I do live in this area, so I guess that means I’m allowed to say – it’s fine by me.