Basildon yobs graffitied disused building with “No mosque here”

"No mosque here" sprayed on the side of the old Gala bingo (photo taken by Echo)

Vandals’ graffitied anti-Muslim abuse on a derelict building warning the community and the local authorities against any future plans to build a mosque.

The yobs sprayed “no mosque here” on the side of an abandoned bingo hall even though Basildon Council confirmed that there were no plans to turn the building into a mosque.

The Islamophobic slogan on the old Gala bingo hall in Pitsea High Road is believed to have stemmed from rumours initiated by far-right groups during May’s elections.

Local resident, Muhammad Kamil told 5 Pillarz: “I have lived here all my life and we’ve never had open hatred towards the Muslim community ever. There were no plans to make the old bingo hall into a mosque and the community believes these were rumours started by far-right groups to cause tensions within the community.”

Basildon Council has confirmed that the only planning application submitted for the site was a proposal to use it for a car wash, which was denied by the local authorities in January.

But Sarfraz Sarwar of the Basildon Islamic Centre did state that his group had privately enquired about the cost of the disused hall with an estate agent a while back.

He said: “This rumour has been around for ages, but the Basildon Islamic Centre does not have the money to set up a mosque there or anywhere else. During the last election far right groups held protests outside that building and in Pitsea Market and I think they started the rumour.

“I have lived in Basildon for 46 years and been involved in the community for 36 years. It’s a shame there is this mentality. Why wouldn’t having a mosque be a positive thing?”

A spokesman for Basildon Council said it was aware of the graffiti, and would ask the owner of the property to have it removed.

Police said they had not received any complaints about the graffiti until they were contacted by Basildon’s local paper. They stated that a sergeant would visit the site and liaise with the council.

Mr Kamil said: “It is very upsetting that Muslims are facing such difficulties since the Woolwich incident. The council have confirmed that Basildon Islamic Centre did not forward an application to change the building into a mosque, yet the community is still being attacked even before we could proceed to aspire to having a mosque of our own one day.”

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