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Mosque building proposal provokes Facebook campaign

Mosque building proposal provokes Facebook campaign

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday April 22 2009

  Proposed plans by Muslims in Lichfield to build a mosque in the city to serve its growing Muslim community, have provoked the creation of a Facebook campaign against the bid.

A Muslim businessman, Abdus Salam, at the centre of the organised effort to submit plans for a mosque to be built in the city has spoken of his surprise and alarm at the racist comments that have been posted on the Facebook campaign, ‘Against Mosque being built in Lichfield’. The group currently has 5000 members.

Using the internet to engage in cyber battles is emerging as an effective tool in mobilising mass opinion and inviting individuals to directly participate and identify with a particular cause. Facebook and other social networking sites are proving successful in getting the younger generation, more accustomed to cyber communication, involved in politics and political campaigns.

A rival campaign has now been created to counter the ‘Against Mosque being built in Lichfield’, Facebook group, allowing those supportive of the mosque proposal plans to also add their voices to the online debate.

While the internet does provide opportunities for political campaigning that is more democratic in its organization, it can also contribute to the polarization of opinions as campaigners and bloggers frequent sites that confirm their prejudices rather than challenge them. And though online campaigning is an important method of civic engagement, it should complement, and not substitute, face to face communication. 

Abdus Salam, speaking on the Facebook campaign said, “There is no need to hate each other – there is nothing to gain in hatred. Learning to live together will be better for all of us.”

People in Lichfield may find that meeting with Muslims in the area and hearing their case on the need for a mosque, and, reciprocally, local Muslims hearing the concerns of those living in Lichfield, might help resolve the disagreement more congenially, and in a more mutually acceptable fashion, than the present cyber campaigns being conducted by the pro and anti mosque Facebook groups.


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