Hate crime fears over new London Colney mosque
PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010
VICIOUS leaflets aimed at keeping a mosque out of London Colney have been referred to the police s harm reduction unit. Police are now examining the British National Party (BNP) leaflets headed up Do you want to live under an oppressive Islamic Sharia g
VICIOUS leaflets aimed at keeping a mosque out of London Colney have been referred to the police's harm reduction unit.
Police are now examining the British National Party (BNP) leaflets headed up "Do you want to live under an oppressive Islamic Sharia government?" as a possible incitement to racial hatred.
The leaflets were delivered to homes in London Colney claiming a planning application to turn Cemex House in Barnet Road into a mosque ousewas part of a wider plot to turn St Albans into an Islamic city.
The large site - around 1,900 square metres - with provision for 33 car parking spaces consists of two separate parcels of land on either side of Lowbell Lane.
The man behind the leaflets is Danny Seabrook, 36, a divorced self-employed builder who lives in London Colney. He stood as a county council candidate for the BNP recently in Watford.
He denies incitement to racial hatred saying the leaflets are "factual and to the point".
He went on: "A mosque would be out of keeping in the village. St Albans is a Christian city. You give an inch and they take a mile. They'll have minarets up there next."
Some of the propagandist language used in the leaflet includes accusations that politicians pander to Islamists' every demand and the majority of residents want to keep the area as it is now.
County Cllr for London Colney, Chris Brazier, said: "This is detestable and I don't think there would have been this reaction if the plan was to turn it into a Christian church.
"The BNP do seem to be targeting London Colney since they picked up 200 votes in the recent county council elections."
Cllr Brazier conceded that he had received almost 100 letters from residents opposing the plans on legitimate planning grounds including traffic fears, narrowness of the access road, insufficient parking and noise. He maintained there was no suggestion of racism in any of the moderately-worded letters.
He said the application had aroused fears that such a large mosque would attract significant numbers of visitors from outside the area, raising traffic and parking issues for residents.
But Peter Trevelyan, acting for the London Colney Islamic Group which has submitted the application, said: "Having been frustrated in its search for suitable premises, the local community currently uses the parish meeting room on White Horse Lane once a week for Friday prayers. The main hall is small and inconvenient in shape and, with 50 people present, is cramped and over-crowded."
He said prayers would take place five times a day but the principal focus for prayer would be at 1pm on Fridays when attendance varied between 40 and 50 men and a handful of women. The majority would walk to the site from homes and employment nearby.
But council officers have recommended to a planning meeting on Monday that the scheme should be approved because there would be adequate off street parking and no acceptable harm to highway safety or the free and safe flow of traffic.