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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
New 4m mosque planned for town
The first purpose-built mosque is to be built in Reading following an agreement between Muslim leaders and the council.

The 4m needed to build the new mosque on the corner of Wokingham Road and Green Road will have to be raised by the local Muslim community.

"The new Green Road mosque will be available to all Reading's Muslims and will be a facility of which we can all be justly proud," said Mian Saleem.

When the new facility is built the Alexandra Road mosque will be shut.

The people involved have also assured us they will have a very inclusive approach, including the provision of proper facilities for women
David Sutton,
council leader

Facilities at the new building will include a prayer house, washing facilities, smaller prayer houses, a library, conference room, class rooms for male and female students, a meeting centre for older people and parking for 115 vehicles.

David Sutton, leader of Reading Borough Council, said: "These have been complex negotiations between the community leaders from the Alexandra Road mosque, the South Street mosque and others pushing for the new mosque, and I'm pleased we've managed to reach a fair and sensible arrangement.

"The new mosque will be a glorious building, a very classical design with curved arches and a splendid silver dome in the centre.

"We feel comfortable with these plans because the new mosque would have a social, as well as religious, function.

"The people involved have also assured us they will have a very inclusive approach, including the provision of proper facilities for women."

'Patience and understanding'

The agreement is seen as a thawing of relationships between the council and the Muslim community in the town after a Muslim festival was blocked over security fears.

Reading Borough Council stopped the Islam Fair, due to take place on 10 September in Prospect Park in Reading, over "heightened security concerns and community tensions".

At the time Muslim leaders described the decision as "shocking, disturbing and upsetting".

But following the deal over the mosque Mr Saleem, chairman of Pakistani Community Centre, said: "I am particularly grateful to Reading Borough Council for making the land available and for their patience and understanding."




SEE ALSO
Security fears stop Islamic event
01 Sep 06 |  Berkshire

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