Huge campaign to block off licence next to Finsbury Park mosque
PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 December 2011 | UPDATED: 18:15 15 December 2011
Fears that tensions will emerge between drinkers and Muslim worshippers have sparked a huge campaign to stop an off licence from opening next to a mosque.
About 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for Islington Council to block a licensing bid submitted by the Finsbury Supermarket in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park.
The former clothes shop, which is next door to the Muslim Welfare House (MWH) complex, is seeking permission to sell booze between 8am and 11pm every day.
Toufik Kacimi, director of MWH, which houses a mosque, a bookshop and a community centre, said: “It will bring too much trouble to our doorstep and there are enough off licences in Finsbury Park.
“We would be happy with any other business next door, but why does it have to be an alcohol business? Anything else and we would help them.”
The petition, which was started by the welfare centre, states: “We believe that selling alcoholic drinks could ignite problems with antisocial behaviour against the mosque’s members.”
In a letter to the council, Mr Abukar, who runs the bookshop, said: “I am worried that tensions will arise between the worshippers entering and exiting the mosque for prayer, and people drinking liquor outside the mosque.”
Councillors are due to rule on the application tomorrow (Thursday December 13). Cllr Phil Kelly, who represents Finsbury Park ward, said: “Regardless of where it is, there are too many off licences in Finsbury Park anyway, so I do share their concerns and I would oppose it. I think it’s a reasonable enough point to worry there could be tensions there.”
Finsbury Supermarket could not be reached for comment.