Caernarfon Muslims turned away from community hall run by Church in Wales


Members of the Caernarfon Muslim community were left disappointed when they were informed that the church hall they had been hiring for Friday Prayers was no longer available to them.

When Plaid Cymru Town Councillor for Peblig Kenny Khan was approached by local businessman Shajanur Raja asking if there was a suitable local location to hold weekly prayers he made enquiries at Feed My Lambs in Caernarfon and was assured that it was available for hire. Three days after the first Friday prayers at the community hall, Cllr Kenny Khan received a telephone call from Rev Donaldson of the Church in Wales informing him that the hall was no longer available.
" When Shajanur Raja first asked me about a local building with rooms for hire I thought of the Feed My Lambs straight way," said Cllr Kenny Khan. "It's a lovely building that is available to hire for the community at reasonable prices, so I got in touch with the establishment and was assured that the hall was available on the dates required. The Muslim community were delighted with the convenient location and sent advance payment covering the next three months. They had their first prayer meeting there two weeks ago and all was well, but within three days I received a telephone call from Rev Donaldson informing me that the hall was no longer available to them. I asked why this was, given that I had been informed when booking that everything was in order, and the only explanation I was given was that it was a 'misunderstanding'. I still don't know what the misunderstanding is, and I would like answers."
The Caernarfon Muslim community has been attending prayers at the Mosque in Bangor but felt that a location closer to home would be more convenient.
Said Shajanur Raja, owner of the Sopna restaurant in Pontrug "We were very happy with the Feed My Lambs hall, it is very clean and presentable and we were grateful to our town councillor for finding us such an excellent place to pray. We are a small community in Caernarfon but we feel very much a part of the town and would like to be able to hold our prayers here."
Arfon Assembly member Sian Gwenllian expressed her disappointment on hearing that Friday prayers could no longer be held in Feed My Lambs.
"There may well be a simple explanation as to why the hall is no longer available although it is advertised as being available to the community for hire. I would like to know how and why this decision was reached. " said Sian Gwenllian. " The Muslim population of Caernarfon may be small but its members are very much part of our community and should be able to use this building just like anybody else. A lot of excellent work has been done in Bangor where the Church and Mosque have come together in a spirit of unity and held services together at the Cathedral - we are an inclusive society and that should be reflected in everything we do."

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