The Oxford Bangladeshi Islamic Centre and Mosque had been due to mark the religious holiday Eid al-Adha in Leys Pool and Leisure Centre's main sports hall yesterday, but instead had to squeeze 300 people into three sessions at its Cowley Road building.
It came after frustrated organisers spent more than a week trying to sort out booking problems with the Blackbird Leys leisure centre, which is owned by the city council and managed by Fusion Lifestyle, only to be told a full event management plan including 'anti-terrorism measures' was required at the eleventh hour.Welcome to England, where overwhelming paperwork must be completed in triplicate before the council will let you do what you need to do.
'But you're Muslims', you say..? Well, so what?
The operations manager added if the information, including a safeguarding policy, stewarding/security plan, medical plan, waste management plan and anti-terrorism measures, as well as public liability insurance confirmation and employers liability insurance confirmation, was not provided by 2pm the following day the event could not go ahead.
Mr Hoque said he was 'shocked' as the mosque had never been asked to provide this level of detail before, and it had not been mentioned when he had made the booking initially.Times change, Mt Hoque. We need all that now. I wonder if you know why?
The Blackbird Leys resident added the mosque had been holding events at the centre for years, with the last Eid booking in 2016, but their treatment by leisure centre had left them feeling 'unwanted'.Gosh! How to sum up my concern with your feelings?
That'll do it!