Muslim leader says Flintshire mosque still a priority

The man behind proposals for an Islamic Cultural Centre at a disused social club destroyed by fire says he is uncertain what the site’s future holds.

Mohammed Munchab Ali, chairman of the Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society, told the Leader that plans to establish a centre with a mosque in Flintshire remain in place despite Shotton Lane Social Club being burned to the ground early on February 4.

But he said any possibility of developing on the former social club land is out of the group’s hands and they remain in the dark over what the likely future of the site is.

Police yesterday confirmed they are continuing to investigate the cause of the blaze, although they have said they are treating it as suspicious.

Mr Ali, who reached an agreement for the society to move into the social club shortly before the fire, said: “What happens with the site in Shotton is beyond our control. We are still waiting to hear from the police about the fire. The situation has not really changed since the fire but we still want to create an Islamic Cultural Centre in Flintshire.”

The group is continuing to use Queensferry Community Centre but retain hopes they can expand by moving into a larger facility despite the fire and protests against the proposed development. Their hopes for a new centre include inviting all members of the Flintshire community to come and learn more about Islamic culture and to provide more facilities for women and children.

“Although we are still able to use the community centre, it is a limited facility,” added Mr Ali, owner of the Bengal Dynasty chain of restaurants.  “We are finding difficulties because of the small space available and we wanted to expand our activities. “The reasons why we wanted to move are still in place.”

The site is now in the hands of receivers, with the remains of the building having been demolished. Community leaders earlier this week called for action to be taken quickly over the future of the land and clear up the “eyesore” of rubble that remains.

Mr Ali said he felt people had stopped talking about the fire during the past seven weeks but added there has been plenty of support for his organisation’s aims. He said: “A lot of people have written to us since the fire.  We have had people wiring and saying they were very sorry about what had happened. If there is a positive over what happened, it has been the support we have received from people.”

The Leader, 25 March 2011