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A funding appeal to build a mosque in the Presbyterian stronghold of the Western Isles is has raised nearly half of its £50,000 target.


Six Syrian refugee families and local Muslims presently use cramped accommodation for communal prayers.


Builder Aihtsham Rashid from Leeds who launched the an online crowdfunding campaign has been commissioned to refurbish the building.


He hopes the bulk of the work will be completed by Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which starts in the middle of May.


The primary focus would be on converting the ground floor space.


Mr Rashid said: “The reason I am so passionate about this project is I know the reward of helping build a place of worship and I also want to help as many Muslim brothers and sisters as possible.”


He wrote: “We're raising £50,000 to help build the first mosque-centre in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, for Syrian refugee families.


“I am aiming to get this mosque up and running by Ramadan to enable the local Muslims to read their first Taraweeh prayers.


“This job requires a lot of financing which the locals cannot afford being such a small community of Muslims.”


The Western Isles branch of the Free Church of Scotland Continuing (FCC) had objected over the “most unwelcome development,” saying its main concern is with the religion of Islam itself.


The FCC stressed “we have nothing against individual Muslims, least of all any who have been forced to flee their homelands because of persecution and suffering.”


The mosque would be mainly used for afternoon prayers for about an hour on Fridays which is the main day for the Muslim community.


It would also be used during the month of Ramadan and holy festivals.


Representations against the plans were dominated by parking issues, concerns over noise, and the potential hazard of the adjacent oil storage depot.



Funding appeal to build Stornoway mosque

5 April 2018