Galway Muslims are hoping and waiting for a centre which will accommodate the religious and cultural needs of what is a growing community in the city.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Ireland was recently granted planning permission by the Galway City Council to build a mosque and cultural centre in Ballybrit.
The Galway Islamic Cultural Centre, based in Riverside, has described the granting of permission “for such a small group of people as encouraging and a right move to respect the right of people of different faiths to worship in accordance with their religion”.
A spokesman for the GICC said: “It is one step forward to a city of vision, where people of different faiths live in peace, harmony and respect for each other.”
However, the GICC were keen to point out that the “‘Ahmadiyya’ group comprises just a handful of people in Galway and must not be confused with the mainstream large population of around 2,000 Muslims of Galway who still await granting of a similar compassionate decision for the place of their worship by the city council”.
Due to lack of a proper facility, the GICC is forced to cater for the religious and cultural needs of the city’s 2,000 strong Islamic population at a small house in Riverside, Tuam Road; hold Friday prayers in the Westside Community Centre; and religion classes in St Mary’s College, with the co-operation of the school authorities.
The house in Riverside was originally purchased in the 1970s and served the then small Muslim community. However the community has grown since that time and a larger premises is now needed for worship, meetings, classes, and social events.
“We live with hope that the city council shall maintain its constructive approach as a sustainable policy and will treat all the ethnic and religious minorities in an equitable manner,” said the GICC spokesman. “Therefore, a similar decision will be hailed, when it comes to meet with the on-going cultural and religious needs of the 2,000 Muslims of Galway