MP Steve Baker has once again called for “long overdue” elections to the management committee that runs High Wycombe’s largest mosque.

A dispute between Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust – which runs Micklefield, Castlefield, Townfield House and Jubilee Road mosques – and some of its members has been going on for years.

Disgruntled members started a petition last year calling for the Charity Commission to oversee an AGM of members and some fresh elections – which should have happened in 2017.

There have been no elections to the committee since November 2015 but the current board of trustees for the Trust was only elected for a two-year period.

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Since then, there have been allegations of a lack of "financial transparency, scrutiny and oversight" and "improper conduct", which the Trust has strenuously denied.

Despite Wycombe MP Mr Baker wading into the debate last October to present in Parliament the petition calling for the mosque management committee to resign, there has been no further movement.

And as Wycombe Labour’s Khalil Ahmed reignites talks about a town council for High Wycombe, Mr Baker has urged his political rival to instead join him in addressing a more “pressing” issue – the mosque elections.

He said: “Until Bucks has had unitary council elections, the question of governing High Wycombe cannot be decided.

"There is however a pressing and immediate democratic deficit in our town which Labour’s local leading light is well placed to correct: long overdue elections to the governing committee of our largest mosque.

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“Thousands of local people would be grateful if he joined me in calling for immediate mosque committee elections."

Responding to his comments, Cllr Ahmed said: “While I am a mosque goer, I am not a member of the mosque committee and I cannot comment on issues relating to the governance of the mosque.

“Similarly, I would not expect Steve Baker to comment on the governance of a church that he attends every Sunday.

“The mosque is registered with the Charity Commission and I understand that they will take action if they perceive a problem.

“Steve Baker is the MP for Wycombe and if he is encountering concerns I believe he should approach the mosque committee directly as they are the body who could address them.”

Meanwhile, Shafat Ali, secretary at Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust, said the MP’s comments are “one-sided”.

He told the Bucks Free Press: “The trustees of Wycombe Mosque are keen to resolve the differences and agree a governing document which is fit for purpose, compliant with the current law and best practice and above all, deals with the issue of membership once and for all so that the future governance of the Mosque is put on firm footing.

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“I can confirm that the elections will be held once an amended governing document is agreed and the membership issues are resolved.

“Steve Baker has never contacted the mosque to raise his concerns about the governance of the mosque.

“I am disappointed that whilst High Wycombe has been highlighted for high levels of deprivation in some areas, economic uncertainty, food poverty, inequality and tenant insecurities in an array of documentaries featured by the BBC, he chooses to make political football of issues affecting the governance of a local mosque.

“The MP should be playing more of a role in the welfare of his constituents in light of the pandemic rather than making one sided comments. I have written to him previously and still await his response nearly a year later.”