Dec 1 2012
A council has come under fire after an Islamic group extended a tiny bungalow to turn it into an ‘illegal’ mosque for 200 worshippers. Neighbors are furious over excess noise at all hours of the day, congestion, and garbage bags strewn across the front lawn.
UK Daily Mail Crowds of over 100 people gather at the mosque three times each week – and for big celebrations such as Eid there are several hundred. The group bought the property in Westcliff, Essex, three years ago and extended it without planning permission and turning it into a mosque.
If that isn’t bad enough, the Jaafriya Islamic Welfare Centre applied for council taxpayer funding to run religious celebrations and education classes at the property along with retrospective planning permission for the 20ft extension at the rear.
Despite hundreds of complaints to Southend Council, officers allowed the cramped property to be used as a place of worship ‘illegally’ after being told it was a family home used to host the odd community meeting.
But despite the official denials, the group had even posted YouTube videos of a large group of people chanting and worshipping inside the property. A council worker who visited spotted 40 garbage bags stacked up outside the property just before Christmas last year.
Neighbour Ron Frood, 62, said: ‘This is supposed to be a residential area but we see people coming and going all day long. ‘People often arrive with plates of food and then the next day the garbage bags are just thrown outside attracting rats and foxes.
Kelly Phipps, a single mother, 33, who lives across the road from the makeshift mosque, said: ‘During Ramadan there were hundreds and hundreds of people turning up and the sheer volume caused havoc.
‘People would park up on the pavement and the road became really congested – I can’t see why the council didn’t take action sooner. I think they’re worried that if they try to boot them out they will play the race card. A mosque isn’t suitable for a residential road like this.’