A leading Muslim businessman says he is “frightened” by the response a plan to build a mosque in an historic city has received.
It has emerged that a group is using a social networking site which has been set up in protest at plans by Lichfield’s growing Muslim community to build a mosque in the city.
Curry entrepreneur Abdul Salam, who has lived in the city for 25 years and owns the Eastern Eye restaurant, unveiled the plan last week and as yet no planning application has been submitted to Lichfield District Council.
But already more than 1,600 people have posted objections on Facebook.
Mr Salam claimed that one objection stated that if the mosque was built it would be burned down.
He said: “Comments like burn up the mosque which have been left on Facebook show that we have a tremendous problem in Lichfield which we didn’t think we had. We have been left concerned and a bit frightened.
“We are looking to live together in peace.”
Another objector said: “There is no way we will have a mosque overshadow our beautiful cathedral city.”
A third objector recorded: “I’ve been all over this world, came back to Lichfield – it’s one of the last unspoilt bastions of Englishness. I don’t object to a mosque, but I do object to the location.”
Mr Salam unveiled the plan for a mosque claiming that Lichfield’s Muslim men needed a permanent place of worship for five times a day prayers.
They currently use a room at Curborough Community Centre, Curborough, near Lichfield, or travel to Birmingham or Burton.
One of the possible locations for the mosque suggested by Mr Salam was Minster Pool, which is near to Lichfield Cathedral and in a Conservation Area, but his comment has caused concern to some city residents.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said: “Some of the comments on this Facebook page are quite racist. It’s showing an unpleasant side of Lichfield which I didn’t know existed.
“People do have concerns about the construction of a mosque in Lichfield’s Conservation Area and I share the view that amplified calls to prayer are not really acceptable.
Lichfield District Council leader, Councillor David Smith, said: “Lichfield district gains great strength from its cultural diversity, and welcomes people from all faiths.”