Members of a Lancashire mosque were yesterday wondering why ice cream vans could play their tunes on the streets of Blackburn while the calls that summon Muslims to prayers were banned.
Members of Blackburn with Darwen borough council have rejected a request by the Nurul Islam mosque to broadcast the adhaan through the mosque’s loudspeakers.
The congregation had submitted a petition with 182 signatures, and said the calls would be heard only in Audley Range, where most residents are Asian.
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But the planning committee last week refused to lift a 20-year ban, which applies to most mosques in Blackburn, home to 30,000 Muslims. Members said they had to consider residents from all faiths, and an appeal from a Christian church to ring bells five times a day would also be rejected.
“We have to consider there are some people in that area who are not of the Muslim faith,” said one councillor, Fred Slater.
Salim Mulla, the councillor for the ward containing the mosque, said yesterday he was very disappointed by the committee’s decision.
“There are a couple of mosques in Blackburn which have permission to broadcast the adhaan five times a day,” he said. “That probably would not be right in an area where most people are not Muslims. But 90% of people in the Audley and Queen’s Park areas are from the Asian community.”
Mr Mulla said the mosque had made the calls regularly for more than 10 years. “But there were one or two complaints and they discovered they did not have permission.”