The ‘first step’ has been completed in establishing a permanent prayer hall for muslims to worship in the Sleaford area.
Refurbishments have just been completed on a disused building on Station Road, to become the Sleaford Islamic Centre.
A warehouse to the rear has planning permission to be converted into a larger prayer hall as funds are gathered, leaving the smaller building for educational or office use.
Up till now the town’s muslim community had met for prayers in St Denys’ Church Hall and Vicar of Sleaford the Rev Philip Johnson was among the guests at the grand opening on Friday
After prayers, members of Sleaford Town Council and North Kesteven District Council looked on as the Mayor of Sleaford Coun Garry Titmus cut the ribbon.
Imam for Sleaford and muslim communities across the county, Muhammed Sadek Gangat, said: “It is one step, a great step, but we have a long way to go. This place will be a centre for the community and not just Muslims. We want everyone to be able to use this place. The support has been overwhelming and very pleasing.”
School visits and other groups wishing to learn more are welcomed.
Trained builder Turon Miah co-ordinated the project and said they hoped to have funds to start work on the larger building next year. He said: “This will not be big enough very soon, but now we have somewhere to pray.”
He and fellow member of the project, Noureddine Belazia, thanked the local authorities for their help and guidance, explaining the whole community has been supportive, drawing together Muslims from different cultures, languages and ethnic backgrounds. Mr Miah said: “A lot of people sacrificed time and effort to get this far.”