CAIRO - Muslim celebrations of the first mosque in Chipping Norton town in England's south east district of West Oxfordshire have come to an end after the land owner pulled out of a deal after threats.
"It is absolutely shocking, Tahirul Hasan, a Chipping Norton town councilor, told The Oxford Times on Saturday, February 9."I did not expect this from our local community."
Oxfordshire Muslims Revive Mosque Plans
The Muslim community in the town has been celebrating after winning permission to build the mosque last Monday.
The permission followed a long campaign by the Muslim community to build the mosque to fulfill their religious duties.
But their celebration turned into a shock after the owner of the land, where they mosque would have been built, pulled out of the deal after threats.
"Someone rang up and said if you go ahead with the mosque then it will get very hot. They were saying they would burn it down, 79-year-old landlord Georg Wissinter said.
I have got people in the flat above [the proposed mosque]. I cannot take the risk."
The landlord said that though he had only received one phone call, the word of mouth around the town suggested the sentiment was more widespread.
"There is more than one person," he said.
The landlord, a German who has been living in the town over the past 35 years, complains that he himself is facing accusations of being a Nazi.
"I did expect something to happen because of the application. But I did not expect them to want to burn it down."
Police spokesman Craig Evry said the threats were being investigated.
"No formal complaint has been made to police but the incident is being treated as a potential criminal offence," he said.
The mosque plans have faced strong opposition from residents of the West Oxfordshire District Council.
"Chipping Norton is the quintessential English market town and as such it is attractive to tourists and visitors and most who live here, one objector said.
I would wish this English character to be preserved.
Another objector said: It will totally spoil the place.
Despite their shock, Muslim residents are now considering their next step.
"I am not only working for the Muslim community, I am working for the local community, councilor Hasan said.
"I have lived here for 24 years and I am a councilor and a member of the Neighborhood Action Group."
The Muslim community in Chipping Norton currently worships at the Town Hall on Fridays.
The 2011 Census said Chipping Norton had 34 Muslims, of a population of 6,337.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net