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Solihull Community Hub 'mosque' row - move to win permission for more Friday prayers

But it will only happen if permission is given by the owners of the building

The community centre in Hermitage Road, Solihull.
The site in Hermitage Road, Solihull, which has allegedly been turned into a mosque without permission.

Further Friday prayers may take place at the site of an alleged unauthorised mosque in Solihull, it was claimed today.

A source linked to a local Muslim community group, said was hoped to use a prayer room at the Solihull Community Hub for such events in future.

But that would only happen when refurbishment work was completed at the building - a disused ambulance station in Hermitage Road - and provided permission was given by the owners.

Nearby residents were outraged last Tuesday when more than 300 people turned up to an event at the site and caused parking chaos.

The source said: “It was never intended as a mosque.

“There’s a prayer room there and it’s just ancillary to the main building.

“The room is available for booking by anybody.

“We are still keen to hire it for Friday prayers in the future if the owners agree.”

Solihull Council is currently conducting an investigation into whether there has been a breach of planning consent at the centre which received permission to operate as a training and conference centre last April.

The source spoke as police urged the culprits who dumped four severed pigs heads on the doorstep of the Hub on Sunday night to give themselves up before officers trace them.

The pigs head that were dumped at Solihull Community Hub this week
The pigs head that were dumped at Solihull Community Hub this week

Windows were also smashed at the centre the evening before.

Chief Superintendent Alex Murray, from Solihull police station said: “We’ve secured good quality CCTV of the culprits and my detectives are making good progress with the investigation.

“With this in mind, I would urge those responsible to come forward and put their side of the story to us before we knock on their door.”

Dr Issam Ghannam, a Solihull Imam, said those behind the ‘hate crime’ had hijacked the situation.

“This was committed by the minority who hate everybody. I wouldn’t be surprised if these people came from outside the area.

“I’ve lived in Solihull for over 20 years and seen lots of kindness. We don’t want a small group of people with diseased hearts to create problems in the community

“We want to contain it.”

The latest developments emerged as the English Defence League prepares to meet in Solihull town centre on Saturday over proposals for a Muslim cemetery at nearby Catherine-de-Barnes.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “This will be a small number of EDL supporters handing out leaflets at the top of the pedestrian High Street.

“The EDL visit the town routinely and have done so since the application for the cemetery has gone in.”

Proposals for the scheme were submitted to Solihull Council last month after the scheme was turned down twice last year.

Solihull Council said it was not aware of any shops or businesses who were set to close their doors due to the presence of the EDL.

Anyone with information about Sunday’s incident should call officers on 101. Details can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

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