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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Mosque may change name
A mosque named after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein could undergo a name change at the end of the war in the Gulf.

The President Saddam Hussein Mosque in Birmingham was opened in 1988 after a 2m donation from the Iraqi leader.

During the first Gulf War in 1991, the mosque was attacked, causing 15,000 damage.

Now the mosque committee has confirmed they are considering changing the name.

This name should never have been put there in the first place
Mosque worshipper

But in a statement, the committee said they would like to consult the Iraqi people in some way, in recognition of the fact that the 2m ultimately came from them.

One worshipper at the mosque in Perry Barr said: "Many accept the name will have to change.

"This name should never have been put there in the first place."

Another worshipper said the name created the wrong impression of the mosque.

Appeal to embassies

"There is a misconception that this could be some sort of centre for heated debate and political confrontations.

"But when you go inside it lacks political debate at all."

Most worshippers at the mosque are from India or Pakistan.

The money from Saddam Hussein followed an appeal to embassies of countries, including Saudi Arabia and Libya, who often gave money to places of worship.

Iraq agreed to donate the money, and the mosque was named after Saddam Hussein as a mark of gratitude.

The BBC's John Sudworth
"The mosque was built at a time when Iraq was a western ally"


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