Muslim group speaks out about mosque rumour
PUBLISHED: 09:09 12 May 2011 | UPDATED: 13:13 12 May 2011
THE Ely Muslims have moved to cool speculation about their rumoured plans to build a mosque in Ely.
"“It was never planned to be a mosque, it was planned to be a community centre.”"
Speaking to the Ely Standard, senior members of the Ely-based religious group said that they had NOT formed any plans to build a mosque in the city and were keen to quash rumours that they had made an application to council planners.
Shair Choudhury said members had been using the Paradise Centre in Ely to perform prayers and celebrate festivals for seven years and had excellent relations with residents and other community groups.
“We have been meeting in the Paradise Centre for about seven years and in that time we have been raising funds to put towards a place of our own.
“It was never planned to be a mosque, it was planned to be a community centre and just like every other religious or community group that has a place of their own we want a similar place,” said Mr Choudhury.
“The place we are looking for will be all-purpose, it will be for praying, for education, for the ladies to get together and it will also be open to everyone to come and see and understand who we are.”
Fellow group member Abdul Rashid added: “We want somewhere to meet and have a cup of tea and somewhere that will be available to use in the evenings. We would also like to be able to invite people to come in and observe our prayers or have a chat with us.”
Mr Rashid added that the group, which has about 50 regular members, had never entered any plans with the council to build on land at the Paradise Centre and only briefly considered the area after being approached by centre officials.