Saturday, September 26, 2009
Full mosques, empty churches
Several redundant churches in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland are slowly being converted into mosques as Christian congregations dwindle while a growing Muslim population demands more places to worship. Colin Randall, foreign correspondent, reports
When the Glasgow Central Mosque, then rivalling the biggest in Europe, opened a quarter of a century ago, it seemed all the needs of Muslim worshippers in Scotland’s largest city would be met at its imposing site on the banks of the Clyde.
But as the city’s Muslim population has swelled to 33,000, with the Pakistanis who have always formed its main component joined by refugees from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, demand has continued to grow for space. More than 70 years after organised worship first began, in the homes of Pakistani immigrants, Glasgow has 14 mosques, and some feel it could do with more.