New mosques should be built in a more traditionally British style to help Muslims integrate with wider society, a government report has recommended.
The Casey report, released on Monday, paints a stark picture of a society divided along ethnic and religious lines, with Muslims in particular failing to integrate into British society.
One recommendation the report makes to help integration is to build mosques according to architectural designs that are more in keeping with native British buildings.
“Often, the most strongly expressed concerns – for example in objecting to planning applications –were about the impact on local parking. But there was also a sense of community concern about the architectural appearance of mosques,” the report says.
“The public mood was described to us as having changed from acceptance and curiosity about a small number of buildings that seemed rare, to a concern about an unknown culture increasingly dotting the British skyline and highlighting difference.”
The report refers to comments by former Conservative minister Baroness Warsi last year, who called for mosques to adopt a more “quintessentially English” design to better fit in with the wider country.
“Such a step could be symbolic of a wider desire in the Muslim population to cultivate a British flavour of Islam, comfortable in its identity,” the report adds.
Lady Warsi said that there was “no reason why” mosques could not be built to resemble traditional English churches.
“The only requirement is for it is to have a place for the imam to stand, to be facing Mecca when you pray and to have places for people to wash before prayer,” she said.
“I think a nod to the heritage and the culture that you find yourself in can be very helpful.”
However she refused to go into specifics about what an “English mosque” should really look like.
“What I would like to see is the quintessential English mosque. It is not for me to say what that would look like.”