MUSLIMS say they feel 'unwanted' after their Eid booking was cancelled by a leisure centre with less than 48 hours notice.

The Oxford Bangladeshi Islamic Centre and Mosque had been due to mark the religious holiday Eid al-Adha in Leys Pool and Leisure Centre's main sports hall yesterday, but instead had to squeeze 300 people into three sessions at its Cowley Road building.

It came after frustrated organisers spent more than a week trying to sort out booking problems with the Blackbird Leys leisure centre, which is owned by the city council and managed by Fusion Lifestyle, only to be told a full event management plan including 'anti-terrorism measures' was required at the eleventh hour.

The mosque's secretary Anam Hoque said: "They told us we had given them short notice but we initially put in a booking form in May.

"We only got in touch again on August 11 to confirm and pay for the venue as we hadn't heard from anyone."

He said at this point it was revealed the leisure centre had no record of the booking and they were asked to make a new one, adding he had to 'chase' the operations manager for the forms.

Then, after the new booking was confirmed and a fee for the space arranged, at 4.30pm on Sunday Mr Hoque was sent an email from the operations manager saying he had been 'given some information relating to any Eid bookings' and as such, extra documentation was needed if the event was to go ahead.

The email went on to explain: "This is due to the high number of footfall we have had for Eid bookings previously across all of our sites in the Oxford contract."

The operations manager added if the information, including a safeguarding policy, stewarding/security plan, medical plan, waste management plan and anti-terrorism measures, as well as public liability insurance confirmation and employers liability insurance confirmation, was not provided by 2pm the following day the event could not go ahead.

Mr Hoque said he was 'shocked' as the mosque had never been asked to provide this level of detail before, and it had not been mentioned when he had made the booking initially.

The 45-year-old added: "It would take weeks to complete, not 24 hours. We told him 300 people were coming from the start. This wasn't some rock concert it was a private two-hour event where everyone knows each other."

The Blackbird Leys resident added the mosque had been holding events at the centre for years, with the last Eid booking in 2016, but their treatment by leisure centre had left them feeling 'unwanted'.

He said: "What's worse is them actually taking the booking and doing this at the last minute.

"I think Fusion don't want any big gatherings of Muslims. This is our feeling. We had no problem when Oxford City Council ran it, what's stopping it now?"

Health and Safety Legislation does require those putting on events to complete a full risk assessment but the level of detail is dictated by factors including size, as well as the involvement of outside businesses and entertainment.

Mr Hoque said: "Staff need to be better trained about what people need to provide.

"Nowhere on the website or the initial booking form does it mention what information is needed.Why not tell people sooner and avoid this situation?"

A Fusion spokesperson said: "Leys Pools and Leisure Centre is an inclusive venue that welcomes all bookings for events.

"For all events we need to have sufficient time to prepare the centre and the booker must supply the appropriate event documentation."

Restore and The People’s Fair are hosting its own Eid al-Adha Celebration in Manzil Way from 6pm onwards tomorrow.

The free family-friendly community event will have live music and a food court with a barbecue and Halal food available.

There will also be a number of activities on offer for all ages including face painting and Henna.