Residents living near the area in Lincoln where a mosque will be built have been able to voice their concerns at an event discussing the impact of the plans on the local community.
Around 30 people attended ‘The Truth About Islam’ event, which took place on January 19, on World Religion Day, organised by the Boultham Residents Association with the Islamic Association of Lincoln.
The event, at the Royal Naval Association Club on Coulson Road, came after the second anti-mosque protest and anti-racism protests took place in the city centre, on January 18 – both proceeded peacefully.
Planning was approved in November 2012 for redevelopment of the former Boultham Dairy site on Dixon Street , which also includes a supermarket that is now under construction.
The Islamic Association of Lincoln is still fundraising to build the mosque in the city and a start date for the construction has not been set.
Dr Tanweer Ahmed from the Islamic Association of Lincoln said: “We’ve been working for some time to gain a better understanding of each other. The vast majority of times it’s the lack of understanding that causes problems.
“This mosque for us is emotionally important as a place of worship, but we hope local residents will also be able to use the facility for their needs. It is very important to us to engage and integrate with other members of the community.”
Jean Flannery from the Boultham Residents Association added: “Both our groups are eager to foster and encourage the very best possible relationship that we can between the local residents community and the mosque community. We’re all part of the community of our city.
“To that end we’re working together to promote mutual understanding and mutual acceptance of one another. It’s with understanding that acceptance comes and recognition of our uniqueness, the things that separate us and the things that join us and make us one.”
The session was also attended by Cllr Brent Charlesworth, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion, and all three ward members for Boultham.
Cllr Charlesworth said: “This was an interesting and worthwhile opportunity for local people to meet their new neighbours and to lay the foundation for future co-operation.”