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Church hits out at 'most unwelcome' mosque on Lewis

The Free Church of Scotland Continuing slams the proposals in Stornoway.

Stornoway: Derelict site of future mosque.
Stornoway: Derelict site of future mosque.

A Western Isles church has urged its congregation to pray "no mosque will ever appear in Stornoway".

A long-derelict building in the town is expected to be converted into a centre for prayer and Islamic events.

Plans for the mosque were backed by many islanders and won approval from the local council last week.

The Free Church of Scotland Continuing has hit out at the proposal, however, calling it a "most unwelcome development".

'If a mosque ever opens, Islam will be able to promote itself in our midst.'
Free Church of Scotland Continuing

In a statement critical of Islam, the church said: "We urge the lord's people to make this situation a matter of earnest prayer, asking the almighty that in his kindness he will grant that no mosque will ever appear in Stornoway."

However, the church insisted it "has nothing against individual Muslims".

"Least of all those who have been forced to flee their homelands because of persecution and suffering," it added.

Six refugee families fleeing the civil war in Syria recently settled on Lewis, where a small Muslim community has flourished for decades.

There were no official objections to the mosque on religious grounds, although concerns were raised about parking.

The future site of the mosque - a former home which has been empty for several years - is owned by local Muslims.

The Western Isles remain staunchly Christian and the islands of Lewis and Harris both have large Presbyterian communities.

Many businesses do not open on Sundays and a row erupted in 2009 when ferry firm CalMac began sailing on the Sabbath.

The 26 refugees who have settled on Lewis are among 1800 people who have found new homes in Scotland after fleeing Syria.

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