Campaign for a Camden mosque to perform Muslim burial rites in borough

Muslims in Camden have nowhere to perform their burial ceremonies and are forced to compromise their religious principles week in week out, it is claimed.

A pressure group is campaigning for a purpose-built mosque in the borough as Muslims are forced to settle for makeshift premises which struggle to cope with the growing demand.

Muslims make up around 12 per cent of the borough’s population and many travel to East London Mosque to perform their burial rites.

The nearest mosque is in Regent’s Park but Muslims in Camden believe there should be one in the borough.

Camden Central Mosque and Communities Centre (CCMCC) has been campaigning for a prayer and community centre since 2006. But the group is set to lose its funding from Camden Council.

The CCMCC will have to rely on donations and is about to release a campaign film to appeal for funds.

Shiplu Miah, who is stepping down from his work with the CCMCC, said it was distressing for families to travel to Whitechapel to wash the deceased’s body and for relatives to pay their last respects.

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He said: “It would be very important to have that facility in the community centre and that was identified as one of they key needs. Muslims should not have to travel to east London to have a funeral service. They should be able to have it locally.”

Mr Miah also explained the absence of any proper mosque compromised Islamic rules. Men must attend the Friday prayer at a mosque, but due to the lack of facilities, small mosques have to hold three or four services a day, which is frowned upon.

The prayer and the sermon take place in cramped circumstances which cannot cater for women and are without fire exits.

Project leaders, who include Jewish and Christian representatives, say the community centre would benefit Muslims and lead to greater social cohesion.

Cllr Don Williams, who sits on the project’s panel, said: “It’s also about reaching out to the non-Muslim community, to have an education centre for people of different faiths to exchange ideas and views.”