The owners of a fish and chip shop in Arbroath are raising funds to build Angus’s first mosque, after the Syrian war brought an influx of Muslim refugees to the area.
With the closest mosque currently in Dundee, the Naseem family, who run The Bellrock, bought a former drill hall in the Angus town, The Courier reported.
Mohammed Naseem, 57, hopes the new space would remove barriers for families wishing to continue to practice their faith in Arbroath.
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“My family have been in Arbroath for years. We are all quite lucky because we can drive to Dundee for our prayers,” Mohammed’s son, Adil, said.
“However, over the last five years, ever since the Syrian war has happened, a lot of refugees have come. They don’t have cars, and we noticed that they don’t have anywhere to pray. They are kind of losing their religion and they are very upset about it.
“So, we as a community have been on a mission to create somewhere for Muslims in Arbroath and surrounding towns to come together.”
He added that the absence of a prayer area in Arbroath has impacted the mental health of some Muslim refugees.
“It is quite sad because they have already had to leave their country and they’ve come to a different country where a lot of them didn’t even know English,” Adil said.
“They have had to lose everything and start again – and then they didn’t have anywhere to practice their faith.
“Syrian people are quite religious so it must have taken a real toll on their mental health.”
Adil, 26, has now started a GoFundMe to raise cash for the project – which has already raised more than £5,000.
The mosque will be run by a board of trustees once it has been formally registered as a charity.
Mosques are the beating heart of Muslim communities and stand as a physical example of the Islamic faith.
They serve for prayers, for events during Islam’s holiest month Ramadan, as centers for education and information, and also as places for social welfare.
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