Brierfield Mill for the Muslims

Published: Friday, 30 October 2009

IT WAS announced today (Friday) that Brierfield Mill at Burnley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is to be turned into a boarding school for 5,000 Muslim girls.

The plans are for the entire historic mills complex, with Islamic Help, a national charity, intending to spend the next ten years developing Brierfield Mill into the country's biggest boarding school, Alan Tilbury tells us.

If the proposals are approved it will begin by moving Ghausia Girls' High School in Nelson into the mill, which will be added to gradually over the next  few years until it is large enough to enable the education of 5,000 Muslim girls to GCSE level.

Standard of education 'poor'

Mohammed Masood Alam Khan, Chairman of the charity, explained there was a demand for the school in the area, where he said the standard of education for Muslim women was ‘poor.'  And would also include sports facilities, which would steer local youngsters away from drugs.

But there is opposition to the plans, with campaigners believing the facility will have a ‘divisive' effect on the town, because it is single faith and single sex, and they have already begun protests against its creation.

Councillor Tonia Barton, Chairman on Brierfield and Reedley Committee, has concerns over how it would affect community cohesion.

Millions below market value

Mr Khan confirmed the charity was in the final stages of buying the seven acres site, the former home of the Smith and Nephew Company, which is located alongside the waterway, which is being offered at just £1 million, which is several million pounds below its market value.

As the school grows, Mr Khan stated girls from all over the UK and possibly Europe could be housed at the facility, adding that one of the aims was to create a facility which would educate and empower Muslim women.

A residents' action group has contacted householders in Brierfield to inform them about the plans for the school. Councillor Barton stated it was ‘too early to panic' but that she did have concerns over the plans.