For almost two decades Aberdeen’s Muslim community has dreamed of creating a new place of worship in the city.
It has been a stormy 20 years, filled with false dawns, unsavoury protests and delay after delay.
Now, finally, the community’s vision of a mosque on the city’s Beach Boulevard may finally be edging towards reality.
The council’s city growth committee met to discuss the proposal and though the vote was taken behind closed doors the results were soon known.
Members agreed unanimously to award a lease to the Aberdeen Islamic Charitable Trust (AICT) for a site close to King Street where a new mosque and community centre is now expected to take shape.
Plans were first approved for the new mosque – which is intended to be a community facility for Muslims and non-Muslims alike – way back in December 2001.
However, community leaders could not agree on a planning application and after being taken off the agenda it did not re-emerge until 2008.
In 2013, a 130-strong protest, including about 30 members of the far-right National Front, took place in opposition to the plans.
The clouds surrounding the project have now lifted, however, and last night Abdul Latif, the project director of the new Aberdeen mosque and community centre project, said he was “truly delighted” by the decision.
He said: “The council has approved the terms of a lease for the site at the beach for the new Aberdeen mosque and community centre to the Aberdeen Islamic Charitable Trust.
“The centre will be a landmark building with stunning, iconic, modern and innovative architecture and design to be delivered through an international architecture competition.
“It will also be a centre of excellence with state-of-the-art facilities and a glowing asset for the city and its citizens.
“We have worked closely with the council to achieve this and would particularly like to mention the unfailing support that we have received from councillors, council officers, Lord Provosts, MSPs and MPs.”
Aberdeen Labour councillor Tauqeer Malik, who is prominent in the city’s Muslim community, has been working to help deliver the project for the past 20 years.
He said: “I am delighted there is now an opportunity to build a new Aberdeen mosque and community centre at the beach.
“This new mosque will have community facilities and will be open to all faiths and none. I look forward to working with the trustees of the mosque and the council to build a much needed community facility for the area.”
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn hailed the move as “fantastic news”.
A new £2 million mosque opened its doors on Aberdeen’s Nelson Street in March of this year.
Built by the Alhikmah Foundation charity, the three-storey building includes a prayer hall and creche.