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Plans for first mosque on Western Isles approved

Stornoway
Stornoway

Plans to build the Western Isles’ first mosque have been approved, on the eve of Eid ul Adha – one of the holiest occasions in the Muslim calendar.

The Muslim community on Lewis intend to convert a derelict building in Stornoway town centre after Western Isles Council granted planning permission yesterday.

The small mosque will have a prayer room with a meeting room across the hall.

The building was originally a house but later used as a store for an electrical contractor. The rundown premises have been empty for many years.

Plans granted in 2013 for an Asian community centre allowed for a purpose-built facility for people to celebrate family and cultural events as well as annual religious festivals.

Some of the families backing the original proposal have moved away while having a place of worship would help the six recently arrived Syrian refugee families to settle better on Lewis and avoid them feeling isolated so far from home.

The latest application seeks to have a smaller facility by upgrading and repairing the crumbling building at 14 James Street.

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

Even then only a maximum of 20 or so people are expected to attend.

A spokesman for the Asian community said: “We are all happy the council approved the mosque before Eid – so more for us to celebrate.”

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