LETTER: Time to quash dangerous rumours over Muslim households’ ‘prayer room’

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I was having an argument with a friend at the weekend who was suggesting there is a scam going on whereby Muslim households can avoid paying council tax by having a prayer room.

It was argued that if they can prove that four or more people use this room, it is considered a “place of worship”. I mentioned this to my dad and he said a columnist at the Nelson Leader had written that this was a load of nonsense. I would like to put my friend right on this issue, not through some petty desire to win the argument, but because I believe if these rumours go unchecked, it provides fertile ground for the likes of the BNP to divide the community further.

Part of the argument was also that there was currently 250,000 such exemptions in Bradford. This is clearly fictitious as I doubt there is anything like that number of Muslim households in Bradford. Would I be able to ask Bradford City Council for figures on the number of registered places of worship they have and whether that would qualify them for council tax exception, through the Freedom of Information Act? Or would I have to actually physically go and look through their records?

I would greatly appreciate someone’s help debunking this dangerous rumour.