Threatening and racist comments have appeared on an anti-mosque Facebook group. “No to the new Mosque in Weston-super-Mare” has been set up in opposition to proposals for a new Muslim centre in Orchard Street.
Last week the Weston & Somerset Mercury revealed the Weston Islamic Education Centre group had applied to covert the former Rock Gardens site into a community centre which would also be used for prayer.
But some of the 440 members have written threatening comments in the internet forum. One post said: “Muslims are never gonna take over this country….well at least weston super mare, I swear on my life if they built this new mosque in weston I will set fire 2 it and thats a f***in promis.” Other comments say that all Muslims are terrorists and one aggressive member threatens to drive a bus into the centre and blow it up if it is given planning permission.
The disturbing comments have also been sent to planning officers at North Somerset Council, who are currently deciding whether to give the development the go-ahead.
One email from a Brean resident says: “These so-called Islamic education centres are used to indoctrinate children to accept archaic anti-female and anti-democratic practices abhorred by civilised people in Western society.”
A spokesman for Unite Against Fascism, a British-based organisation formed in 2003 to oppose racist and fascist groups, said: “Racist and fascist groups are picking on Muslims as a fashionable target and it is an extremely nasty form of racism.
“People who are pushing this kind of thinking are thankfully a minority. People who aggressively promote what they consider to be British are a tiny proportion of the population. Thankfully we can live in a society where people of different religious beliefs can live together.”