The Council has received hundreds of comments for and against the planning proposal to demolish and rebuild a new Mosque on Barnsley Road. The Messenger visited the Mosque to find out more.
Story: Ian Clifford
Imam Soheb Desai said: “The Masjid–E–Umar Islamic School or Madressa aims to enhance young people’s understanding of Islam and contribute to moral, social and academic education. Continuous monitoring ensures quality, with written and oral examinations. A homework club run by trained tutors help children with homework and to prepare for SATs and GCSE exams. The quality of education can be evidenced by the number of young people attending the Madressa.”
Reputation for quality
It was clear that a range of backgrounds, including Pakistani and Somali, are represented among the over 700 young people who attend the Madressa. Mosque elder Rashid Ahmed and Madressa teacher Raheel Baig said, “As you can see, the hall is packed and some classes are taught in Portacabins. Whilst the facilities are adequate and effective, there is room for improvement. The young people deserve improved facilities”. Rashid explained that the reputation for quality is known throughout the city.
Not enough places for all
When the Messenger asked whether a residential area in Burngreave should accommodate such a large facility for children from all over Sheffield, Rashid maintained that the vast majority of children and young people attending are from Burngreave. While enquiries are received from outside the area, due to the current facilities, the Madressa is unable to offer places to all.
Rashid and Raheel acknowledged that the Madressa did create parking and traffic problems: “There is a genuine traffic issue, but the issue is only between 7.00 and 7.15pm. It is no different to schools. However, to alleviate the problem, we have volunteers who act as traffic marshals. Our aim is to educate parents and encourage them to share cars or walk the children to the Mosque. Parking in front of people’s drives is unacceptable and this has been raised on many occasions with parents and members of the congregation. We plan to allocate drop-off and pick-up areas and a system of parking permits for local residents.”
Rashid and Raheel denied that undue pressure had been brought to bear on those opposing the plan. “These are malicious rumours” said Rashid. Raheel added “I have been involved in discussions with residents to address their concerns. Some of those who oppose the plans still use the Mosque and their children attend the Madressa. If they were placed under undue pressure, they would not be attending the Mosque”.
Rashid and Raheel said the new Mosque would be constructed from the best quality materials to form a landmark that Burngreave would be proud of.