Birmingham shop alleges ‘intimidation’ to comply with Sharia Law and not sell alcohol

By Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter

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The European and Asian Minimarket in Alum Rock (Photo via LDRS)

An Alum Rock shop whose owner claims he was ‘intimidated’ into not selling alcohol because it was ‘against Sharia Law’ has been granted an alcohol licence.

The European and Asian Mini Market on Alum Rock Road, Alum Rock, has been granted a licence to serve alcohol from 8am to 11pm following a hearing in front of the council last week (May 5).

The hearing into the application had to be delayed twice last week after the shop’s owner, Nabaz Ali-Pour, claimed that three men had visited his shop and attempted to ‘intimidate’ him into not selling alcohol, as they claimed it violated Sharia Law.

And a local councillor, Cllr Mohammed Idrees (Alum Rock, Lab) also spoke out against the proposals, claiming that several residents had contacted him expressing concerns over safety and rising levels of anti-social behaviour were the licence to be granted.

Despite this, the council has seen fit to grant the licence, with a decision being published on Monday (May 10).

In their written decision, a spokesperson for the licensing sub-committee wrote: “Members carefully considered the written representations made by other persons.

“Those making written representations stated that to grant the application would have a negative impact on the licensing objectives, due to a possibility of an increase in crime, antisocial behaviour, street drinking and litter.

“One of these persons, the local ward councillor, also attended the meeting and addressed the Sub-Committee directly regarding the risks of an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The Sub-Committee found the background information to be useful, and carefully noted all of the ward councillor’s observations.

“However, members were not convinced that there was an evidential and causal link between the issues raised and the effect on the licensing objectives.”

They added: “Although the ward councillor’s submissions were focused on the risk of an increase in crime and antisocial behaviour, West Midlands Police had found the application to be satisfactory; they, after all, were the experts in crime and disorder.

“Moreover, the applicants had made proper efforts to mitigate against any potential for trouble.

“As the applicant’s representative observed, there was no evidence to justify any belief that the licensing objectives would be undermined by the style of operation proposed.”