David Cameron has said he is “disturbed” that Muslims were forced to abandon plans for a mosque in his constituency because racists threatened to burn it down.
Islamic leaders were given the go-ahead to build a mosque in an empty shop in Chipping Norton, within Mr Cameron’s Witney constituency. The mosque would accommodate 40 worshippers.
But the shop’s landlord, George Wissinter, received threats within hours of the council granting planning permission. He was told by an anonymous caller that his shop would be burned down if the mosque went ahead. Mr Wissinter, 79, said he had also encountered strong verbal opposition from locals.
Mr Cameron said: “I am greatly disturbed to learn of threats being made in Chipping Norton following the District Council’s decision to grant permission for a prayer room for the Muslim community. Chipping Norton has an excellent record of supporting the rights of minority groups […] and I sincerely hope that this will continue.”
Tory councillor Tahirul Hasan, who has campaigned for the mosque for seven years, said he hoped to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the issue. The councillor said: “I have to travel 14 miles to Banbury to pray. This is why we need a mosque in Chipping Norton.” On Friday, Mr Hasan met with Thames Valley Police, who are investigating the arson threat.
Perhaps Cameron should have considered the likely consequences before he decided to deliver that notorious speech attacking multiculturalism in Munich two years ago.