IT is shocking that plans to open a mosque have been shelved because of threats from an anonymous caller.

Landlord George Wissinter was warned that his property would be burned down if he rented it to Muslim worshippers in Chipping Norton.

He had also heard through word of mouth that there was a lot of illfeeling about his decision.

What a chilling turn of events. A small minority in a town has been denied a place of prayer by the most odious means – intimidation.

But why such unpleasantness?

This was a proposal to use an existing building – a former chiropodist’s room. It is not as if the architectural harmony of Chipping Norton were about to be compromised by minarets towering over Cotswold-stone cottages.

Denying a group a legitimate place to meet and worship may lead to resentment and hamper race relations.

Thankfully, most of Chipping Norton’s residents will almost certainly have been more tolerant of this proposal, because it would be such a shame if it gave the impression that ‘Chippy’ is anything less than it has always been – a warm, friendly town that is confident enough in its own character to welcome visitors and incomers of all faiths.