New mosque to be built with Chelmsford Waitrose
TO WALK past the mosque in Regina Road was to miss it.
But for more than 20 years a group of 70 Muslims used to meet at the tiny central Chelmsford house to pray.
Now Muslim association Jamaat of Essex has knocked it down and plans to build a four-storey community centre in its place to cope with increased numbers.
The project is expected to cost in the region of £500,000 and will be incorporated into the design and construction of the new Waitrose, to be built on the site of Royal Mail sorting office in Victoria Road.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
President of the Jamaat Sajjad Manji said his group had gone largely unnoticed because it had a great relationship with its neighbours.
"We've been here for donkey's years," said Mr Manji, a pharmacist who lives on the Tile Kiln Estate, near Galleywood.
"We're a small community and we've been here a long time – we've never had a problem with anyone."
Some members' families came to this country after fleeing Uganda and Tanzania in the 1960s, he added.
In 1978 a number of them began to open their homes to other Muslims, providing places to meet and pray.
These families then became the Jamaat of Essex and after a brief spell of hiring the Brentwood Co-op Hall, opened a permanent place of worship in Regina Road in 1989.
But soon the tiny house became too small for their needs – regularly accommodating more than 100 members in a building that could cope only with 70 people.
"We are all very pleased. The need for a new Islamic Centre cannot be underestimated for our community. We just need the space," Mr Manji said.
The old building will be replaced by a four-storey centre that includes two prayer halls, accommodation for guest lecturers and a school for 30 children.
Councillor Ron Alcock, who supported their cause, said: "They have been trying to find another location to congregate for years because that place was just too small.
"It's great news."
As well as a mosque and a Muslim community centre, the building will be able to accommodate other local groups.