A CROWDFUNDING page has been set up in a bid to raise £50,000 toward creating a mosque on the Lewis.

Last autumn, Western Isles Council approved a planning applicaion for a Mosque in Stornoway, which the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides said was "a most unwelcome development”.

It comes after the arrival of six Syrian families, who were resettled in the area in recent years.

Now construction businessman Aihtsham Rashid, from Leeds, has set up the JustGiving page, toward building the place of worship for the small Muslim community there.

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Writing on the JustGiving page, Mr Rashid said: “I recently received a phone call from The Isle of Lewis, a small island in the North Sea, North of Scotland. There are just over 8000 people residing there.”

“Amongst the 8000 people, there is a very small Syrian refugee community. They have been trying for a long time to get planning permission for their very own mosque. Against all odds and opposition from the Free Church of Scotland they have now been granted permission to build.”

Adding: “I have been personally requested to go up and help them with the build and planning of their very first mosque due to my experience in building mosques. I am aiming to get this mosque up and running by Ramadhan to enable the local muslims to read their first tarawee prayers.”

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

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Many businesses do not open on Sundays and a row erupted in 2009 when ferry firm CalMac began sailing on the Sabbath and in January of this year when a cinema opened on a Sunday.

HeraldScotland:

When planning permmision was granted to convert a derelict building in Stornaway town centre into a mosque, the FCC denomination said its main concern lay with the religion of Islam itself.

Stressing it had “nothing against individual Muslims, least of all any who have been forced to flee their homelands because of persecution and suffering,” the statement from the presbytery added: “If a mosque ever opens, Islam will be able to promote itself in our midst through public worship, despite its beliefs and practices being alien to the religious convictions of the vast majority of our community.”

The church said Islam is “wholly inconsistent” with the Biblical teachings and is “opposed to the Christian religion”.

And the statement added: “Islam is also incompatible with, and indeed a threat to, our religious and civil liberties.”

On the crowdfunding page, Mr Rashid appealed to people to donate to the project: “This job requires a lot of financing which the locals cannot afford being such a small community of muslims.”

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Nearly £10,000 has so far been raised towards the project on the JustGiving page so far.

Donors left messages of support on the JustGiving page: “With the blessing of Allah I pray he makes the journey easy for you. And may Allah shower his blessings on this Mosque and to all the contributors help making this cause a worthy one.”

Another said: “May Allah make this happen, keep up the good work.”