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City Mosque will broadcast call to prayer every day throughout Games

THE Islamic call to prayer will be recited daily through loudspeakers at ­Scotland's ­largest mosque during the Commonwealth Games. Representatives from ­Glasgow Central Mosque have been given the go-ahead by ­Glasgow City Council to broadcast the two-minute call - known as the adhan - every evening, with the Games coinciding with Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

The mosque in the Gorbals is just a short distance from the athletes' village and a number of the 72 ­countries taking part in the Games are Muslim or have a significant Muslim population. An estimated 400 athletes and their supporters will be fasting during Ramadan.

Officials from the council's ­environmental health department visited Scotland's largest mosque last week to oversee a practice run, and ensure the prayer call does not exceed an agreed sound level.

The adhan will be broadcast once a day from July 10 to August 4 at approximately 10pm. Ramadan will begin on June 29, with its final days coinciding with the first week of the Games, which begin on July 23.

Nabeel Sheikh, general secretary of Glasgow Central Mosque, said it was aiming to cater for Muslims visiting the city for the Games.

He said: "The mosque is situated in the Gorbals, a stone's throw away from the athletes' village. We have had a number of inquiries in terms of what the mosque is doing for those athletes who practice their faith.

"We have been advised by the Commonwealth Committee that approximately 400 athletes and supporting staff will be fasting, so upon hearing the adhan for the sunset prayer, they can begin to eat and break the fast. We are trying to cater not just for the Muslim athletes, but their families, Games officials, media and visitors who will be in the city."

Last month it emerged that representatives of Britain First, an offshoot of the BNP, handed out bibles to worshippers at mosques in Scotland - including Glasgow Central - as part of a self-styled "Christian crusade" against Islam.

Sheikh said the broadcast of the adhan would also help highlight the "open outlook" of Glaswegians and show the community would not be influenced by extremist groups.

He added: "Many of our non-Muslim friends who have visited Dubai, Tunisia or Turkey and have heard the adhan have told me the positive impact it has had on them.

"The world's media will also be in Glasgow and they can leave with a positive impression of the city and emphasising the tolerance and open outlook of Glaswegians.

"We would like to thank the Commonwealth Games Committee, Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland and the inter-faith groups for all their help and support."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said it had been working closely with the mosque. He added: "Environmental health officers were present for a test run at sundown on Thursday night and there were no concerns over volume."

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said: "Individuals and organisations from different faith communities have been working together with Glasgow 2014 to help make sure people of all faiths and none feel welcome in the city throughout the Games."

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