Millionaire businessman ordered to remove Islamic slogan from side of his luxury home because council claims it"s "advertising"

Millionaire businessman ordered to remove Islamic saying from side of his luxury home because council claim it's 'advertising'Message reads: 'There is no god, but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger'Planners claim the 2ft-high lettering is like McDonald's advertising hoardingMahmood Ali, 54, now faces a legal battle after appealing planning decisionHe said: 'The message is simply there to bless the
house. It is not an advert'

By
Simon Tomlinson

PUBLISHED:

11:36 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:03 GMT, 29 January 2013

A millionaire businessman has been ordered to remove an Islamic slogan from the side of his luxury house because council chiefs say it is advertising, it emerged today.

Mahmood Ali, 54, fell out with planners over the Arabic slogan which reads: 'There is no god, but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger'.

The message, in 2ft-high green lettering, is across a first-floor archway on his large detached house in a residential street.

'Breaches planning laws': Millionaire businessman Mahmood Ali faces a court battle over this Islamic slogan on his house in Newport, South Wales, after the council ordered it be removed because it is 'advertising'

'Breaches planning laws': Millionaire businessman Mahmood Ali faces a court battle over this Islamic slogan on his house in Newport, South Wales, after the council ordered it be removed because it is 'advertising'

But he is now in a legal battle with planning chiefs, who classed it as the same as an advertising hoarding like a McDonald's or Marks and Spencer banner.

Mr Ali said: 'The message is simply there to bless the house. The symbols are not an advertisement in any sense of the word's use in daily life.

'I chose the sign's green colour to reflect the ambiance of the property's character and its surroundings.'

Mr Ali had the sign painted onto the side of his large eight-bedroom, semi-detached home in Newport, South Wales.

But the city's council later decided he didn't have the right planning permission to display the message across the home's stone archway.

The sign, which is around two metres wide and 60cm high, includes the declaration of the Islamic faith, called the Islamic creed.

'Obtrusive': The message, in 2ft-high lettering, is written across a first-floor archway on the large detached house

'Obtrusive': The message, in 2ft-high lettering, is written across a first-floor archway on the large detached house

Business consultant Mr Ali has also applied for permission to illuminate the sign in low voltage lighting.

A family member, who did not wish to be named, added: 'It's our home and we should be free to do whatever we want.

'We're suppose to have freedom of speech in this country and be allowed to express our faith however we please.

'We don't intend to cause any kind of offence but I don't see how it is any different to having a St George's flag hanging outside your home.'

Mr Ali applied for retrospective permission, but it was turned down.

Newport Council have argued that the sign is an obtrusive 'advertisement' according to planning regulations.

Under these guidelines, an advertisement includes any word, letter, model, sign, placard, board or notice used for advertising, making an announcement or direction.

Legal fight: A court will now have to decide whether the message should be classed as an advertising hoarding like a McDonald's (above)

Legal fight: A court will now have to decide whether the message should be classed as an advertising hoarding like a McDonald's (above)

A council statement read: 'The property is domestic property and is not a mosque where such signs might be expected.

'The sign consists of letters and words that announce religious faith and so can be considered to be an advertisement and express planning consent is required.

'The advertisement is prominently sited upon the host building and is also prominent. Its size and position on the building make it obtrusive.'

A refusal of advertising consent will
now be subject to a public hearing in Newport Civic Centre on February
15 after Mr Ali appealed the decision.

The sign has divided opinion among Mr Ali's neighbours on the quiet suburban road.

Beryl Morgan, 78, who lives opposite, said: 'Maybe it's OK for a mosque, but I don't think it's a suitable for a house.

'It's not the sort of thing you should be allowed to have on the side of your property.

'It's an eyesore, I don't want to have to look out of my front window and see that every morning.

But Joel Davies, 25, said: 'I don't mind it at all. I think he should be free to express his religious preference.

'The sign is very tastefully done, the green lettering looks good against the stonework.

'I think it adds a bit of colour to the street and I'm not sure what the problem is.'