Emo­tive case was well dealt with

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

ALEADING ob­jec­tor to the pro­posed Mus­lim cen­tre in Ash­ford de­clared him­self as a mem­ber of the Bri­tish Na­tional Party at a meet­ing to dis­cuss the ap­pli­ca­tion. Ray Dawkins freely ad­mit­ted his mem­ber­ship of the far right group when he was al­lowed to speak at an Ash­ford coun­cil plan­ning meet­ing. When his speech de­scended into a ti­rade against Is­lam and Sharia Law, com­mit­tee chair­man Jane Mar­riott told him to stick to plan­ning is­sues. Mr Dawkins has since in­sisted that he op­posed the cen­tre as a res­i­dent and not as a mem­ber of the BNP or un­der its di­rec­tion. Ei­ther way, this clouds the is­sues of the mer­its or de­mer­its of this cen­tre. But as part of a big­ger pic­ture it shows wor­ry­ing fault lines in race re­la­tions. Ex­ces­sive po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness can be de­struc­tive to race re­la­tions and it is im­por­tant that is­sues of race and re­li­gion are dis­cussed ma­turely. This is some­thing Mus­lim cen­tre ap­pli­cant Shafi Khan ob­vi­ously agrees with, to the ex­tent that he hopes the cen­tre will steer young peo­ple in his com­mu­nity from rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion. Credit is due to the plan­ning com­mit­tee mem­bers who showed a ma­ture at­ti­tude and stuck to the plan­ning is­sues in what was clearly a highly emo­tive case.

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