A New Islamic Centre

After many years of hard work, the new Wycombe Islamic Centre is almost complete. Wycombe Islamic Society (WISE) hopes that the centre will be ready for business in October. Refi Shafi, Chairman of WISE, has been delighted with the progress. He said, “This is like a dream come true. We have come a long way since we started the project. There was always the worry that things wouldn’t go according to plan but thanks to the generosity of people we have been successful.”

The centre sits on the site of an old church which had been derelict for some time. Local Councillors for Bowerdean Julia Wassell and Chaudhary Ditta welcomed the new development. They remembered how the former site had become an eyesore and a magnet for anti social behaviour.

The funds to build the centre were raised by a team of dedicated volunteers and Muslim philanthropists who have been impressed by the work WISE are doing. Amjad Iqbal, who led the fundraising effort, is also very excited about the new centre.
“ I think Wycombe needs a new kind of Islamic Centre. We want this to be a centre for the whole community. Muslims have not had a good press recently so we hope this will help bridge the gap and encourage people to visit and learn about the real faith. There were no donations from local agencies which means the centre is entirely independent and run by members of the local community.”

WISE already hosts community meetings including The Bowerdean Residents Group, Wycombe Sharing of Faiths and Spotlight Magazine at their centre on Arnison Avenue. Islamic Courses for non Muslims have been very popular and are run throughout the year. Local politicians, police and public agencies have attended these in their effort to learn more about the local Muslim community. PC Paul Gration who attended one of the courses said he thoroughly enjoyed it and went on to recommend it to his colleagues who also benefited by learning about Islam from Muslims rather than from the media.

Robert Greaves, a convert to Islam was also excited about the new centre, “As a new addition to the Wycombe community, I have found WISE to be an open and very welcoming group. You meet Muslims from many nationalities and backgrounds and the group makes a concerted effort to open up its’ doors to the community as well as thinking about how it can work with, and for, the community. I think that it is great that the group now has a new centre to be able to continue the great work it is doing.”

The multifunctional centre is being purpose built and has been especially designed to not only meet the needs of worshippers but also to allow community meetings, youth functions, school visits and the delivery of training courses. In fact this has been one of the motivations to build the new centre. The original mosques of High Wycombe were built to cater for the immigrant Pakistani Muslim community.

Times have now changed and there are Muslims from all backgrounds living in the area. This centre will hope to meet these needs and the committee of WISE hope that many non Muslims wishing to enhance relations with the community will also use the centre. This new vision means that the new Islamic Centre will stand out from the rest. It will also be a place for daily prayers, Islamic tuition, all types of advice, counselling as well as a place to socialize and meet friends and community. It is a place where people will be able to find peace and solace, being able to escape from daily life and its pressures.

The centre should be open by October and everyone will most certainly be welcome.

Please contact Zahid Jawed (zahidj1@hotmail.com) for further details about WISE courses or email us using our contact us form about any other WISE activities.

Source::Article from: Community Voice

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