The British National Party’s organiser for North Shropshire has said that churches in the area are creating a monster by giving their backing to the new Muslim centre in Oswestry.
Phil Reddall, who stood as the BNP’s parliamentary candidate at the 2010 General Election, told the Advertizer that plans for the 19th century Presbyterian Church on Oswald Road were agreed by Shropshire Council against the will of local people. He now says he will step up the party’s leafleting campaign in the run up to May’s local elections after stating that support for the party has grown in Oswestry more than any other North Shropshire town since 2009.
“We are disappointed that it is going ahead,” said Mr Reddall on the Muslim centre. “If no-one had objected then I would be on the back foot in this matter but more people opposed it than supported it. I do not imagine we will be able to overturn the decision but Oswestry has always been a good town for us and we will continue to be active.”
Oswestry Muslim Society were successful with their bid to begin a £300,000 project to turn the building, currently a furniture store, into a place for meeting and worship earlier this year. But Mr Reddall maintains the decision to allow it will continue to disenfranchise people in Oswestry ahead of the forthcoming elections.
“In 2009 a BNP candidate stood in College Ward and received 15 per cent of the vote,” Mr Reddall continued. “This is an issue we can run with again and a surprising amount of people agree with us when we speak to them. Churches Together are creating a monster by giving their backing to the scheme and this is another example of the political establishment appeasing the Muslim community despite disenfranchising our own community at the same time.”
The BNP spurred a leaflet and video campaign against the proposal which received 60 objections compared to 40 letters of support.
George Miah, chief advisor of the Oswestry Muslim Society, has previously said the organisation hopes to build bridges in the community through the new centre.
The Advertizer might like to reconsider their policy of providing a far-right bigot like Reddall with a platform to promote a political party that incites fear and hatred against Oswestry’s Muslim community – particularly when the BNP’s former deputy leader Simon Darby congratulates them on their “frank and straight coverage”.
Shropshire BNP are trying to overturn approval of the development on the grounds that council officers should only take decisions on minor planning issues, whereas the fascists “consider the gradual Islamification of Oswestry a major issue”.