Building super-mosques ‘not a great idea’ – UKIP’s Farage
Farage was speaking during a visit to Dudley North in the Midlands, where there are plans to build a large mosque with an 18-foot high minaret.
Last month Afzal Amin, the Conservative Party candidate for the area, stepped down after being accused of deliberately stirring up racial tensions.
Amin allegedly tried to recruit the far-right English Defence League (EDL) to hold a protest over the mosque’s construction – providing him a political point-scoring opportunity whereby he could step in and defuse the situation.
Speaking to an audience of military veterans, Farage used the visit to launch his party’s defense policy – including UKIP’s commitment to the 2 percent of GDP required of NATO members.
Pressed for his opinion on the mosque, Farage told The Guardian: “People need places of religious worship. It’s just a question of whether that scale is the right one or not.
“I’m not going to for one moment advocate that we should ban people from being able to worship their religion. I think it’s very important they do. But whether super-mosques are the way forward is a separate question.”
“I personally don’t necessarily think it’s a great idea. I would rather see more smaller and proportionate mosques would be my own personal feeling,” Farage said.
Questioned about the controversy around Afzal Amin’s exit from the elections, Farage said: “I’m not sure fomenting race riots is a very good solution, which I think he was trying to do … I think anybody trying to stir something up that could be very dangerous for personal advantage is right to be exposed.”
In the past UKIP members have struggled to differentiate religious buildings from each other.
Last year, a Kent branch of the populist right-wing party was left red-faced on social media after it mistook Westminster Catholic Cathedral, one of London’s most iconic buildings, for a mosque.
South Thanet’s local UKIP branch, which is Farage’s target seat in May’s general election, criticized the BBC’s Andrew Neil program on Twitter for filming a report “outside a mosque.”
Twitter users were quick to point out the branch’s error.