AN application has been lodged with Limerick City Council to continue using a former city centre warehouse as a mosque and Islamic community centre.
The Limerick Mosque in Dooradoyle is the longest-established place of worship for the city’s growing Muslim population but the building on Windmill Street which is subject to the current planning application has been a de facto mosque since 2009.
The property is leased to the Al-Furqan Muslim Community Association and these applicants have the consent of the owner to formally apply for retention for a change of use from a workshop to a “place of worship and community hall”.
Addullah Hassan Jaribo, who has lodged the application, states: “The number of Muslims in Limerick has grown over time and have been an integral part of this city for a very long time. We are now looking to have a place where we can practise our religion and perform religious and community activities”.
Segregated prayer areas are provided for men and women for prayer services that would ordinarily be held five times a day.
It is also intended to hold weddings and funerals at the centre, ceremonies which according to planning consultant Jack O’Hurley would be “small gatherings”.
Mr O’Hurley has also made a submission to Limerick City Council on the numbers attending regular prayer services, which never exceed the mid-60 mark. As most of the worshippers travel by foot, there is little traffic generated by the mosque, it is submitted.
As well as religious services proper, the community centre provides a platform for visiting Islamic scholars and offers advice to local Muslims on various issues, such as making arrangements for pilgrimages to Mecca. The building is also used for sports and physical education.
And the community, Mr Jaribo said, made efforts to reach out to its neighbours through initiatives such as an annual summer barbecue.
“These efforts have been appreciated by the non-Muslim neighbours and they have hugely enjoyed this gesture,” he stated.
A decision is due by June 6.