City's oldest mosque hoping to expand
PLANS to expand Derby's oldest mosque to develop teaching rooms and a library have been backed by hundreds of locals.
The committee in charge of the Jamia mosque in Dairyhouse Road want to convert a vacant house next door to use for lectures.
And more than 200 people living nearby have signed a petition backing the proposals, which have been submitted to Derby City Council.
Documents submitted to the council state: "Over the years, the mosque has expanded both in number attending and the range of education it offers.
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"It is felt prudent to utilise the adjoining property with which it shares its entry. At no time would it be considered to move the mosque, given its significant history within the area."
The building has been used as a mosque since 1955 and was the first one to be created in Derby.
The mosque was registered for solemnising marriages in 1971.
The rooms in the adjoining building would be used for teaching classes, which would take about 10 students for two to three hours in late mornings or two hours in the early evenings.
The classes would be run seven days a week.
The morning sessions would be for adults and the evening ones for children between the ages of five and 17 years.
All lecturers would be part-time Islamic teachers and all staff would be checked by the criminal records bureau.
Along with the teaching rooms, the new property would also include a small library and rooms for "quiet reflection and meditation".
The plans state: "The additional space will allow teaching, meetings, or prayers to be carried out concurrently, thus preventing the strict timetabling of all activities due to lack of space.
"The proposal is in keeping with the existing mosque, it will keep the character of the terraced house and will ensure that the building is sufficiently large to provide separate rooms for activities, while not disturbing the local residents."
The council is expected to make a decision on the plans by the end of January.