Following the news from Dudley at the weekend, I was invited to contribute a piece to The Conversation that draws upon my research surrounding the Dudley ‘super-mosque’.
To read the article in full, click here. Alternatively, the first few paragraphs are pasted below:
Afzal Amin and the long, sad tale of the Dudley ‘super mosque’
Afzal Amin, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, has resigned as parliamentary candidate after apparently being caught colluding with the far-right in a bizarre plot to hold a fake protest about a mosque.
The shadow cast by the Dudley “super mosque” (as its opponents routinely describe it) has loomed large over the Black Country town since 2001, despite the fact that the mosque doesn’t actually exist. In fact the mosque – dubbed the Pride of Dudley by the Dudley Muslim Association – is no nearer being built than it was at the turn of the century. Anyone passing the site then and today will note very little difference.
Yet as my research has repeatedly shown, confrontations over the mosque have had a destructive impact on Dudley. In particular it has divided the local political landscape, prompting battles between the far-right and local councillors. Now it seems this non-existent building has touched the very heart of the national political mainstream.
Amin stands accused of trying to choreograph a fake demonstration against the mosque. To do it, he sought the help of the far-right group the English Defence League, including its former leader Tommy Robinson.
According to secretly taped conversations published by The Mail on Sunday, Amin wanted the EDL to announce plans for a march in Dudley on May 2 2015 – the last Saturday before the election.
To continue reading, click here.