The Tundra Tabloids smells a rat. A local Muslim community can’t tolerate a local church’s music one day out of the week, that happens to be one of the fastest growing churches in London and pastored by a woman. But this is no ordinary woman, she’s a Nigerian immigrant who, in addition to being a pastor, is also a biochemist and a food scientist.
They praised the Lord by singing their hearts out and chanting prayers at packed services. But members of a congregation in north London have abandoned their church – because of a council noise ban. The Immanuel International Christian Centre was ordered to keep its amplified music and sermons quieter after a neighbour complained.But the church’s pastor Dunni Odetoyinbo claimed Waltham Forest council had only told them to keep quiet so as not to offend the Muslim community. The church also argued the council had ‘taken away its ability to praise God’, and that congregation numbers had dwindled from 100 to 30 because of the restrictions.Baha Uddin, who lives near the church, had complained he was unable to use his garden at weekends and his one-year-old daughter was regularly disturbed by the noise from services.He said: ‘It’s been a nightmare. I’ve not been able to use my garden or living room on a Sunday because of the church services. The amplified music, drums and the loud sermons made having a conversation impossible. The noise made me depressed.’But other neighbours say the noise is not a problem. The church lodged an appeal, and appeared at Waltham Forest magistrates’ court on Tuesday. In court Mrs Odetoyinbo, 55, claimed a council officer had asked her ‘to keep the noise down so as not to offend the Muslim community’.But magistrates rejected the appeal, and ordered the church to pay £2,250 costs. It can now only play music for 20 minutes on a Sunday between 11.30am and 11.50pm.A council spokesman said: ‘All attempts at mediation have failed and we regrettably were forced to issue the church with a noise abatement notice.’ The council denies any religious motive in bringing in the new restrictions.