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Leaders of Islamic community in Norwich waiting on insurance claim after arson attack

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19 31 July 2020

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre where fire damaged a storage area and the roof of a wash room.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre where fire damaged a storage area and the roof of a wash room. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The leaders of an Islamic community in Norwich are waiting to find out if their insurance claim will go through in order to discover the true impact of an arson attack on their new mosque.

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, in the storage room where the fire started. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, in the storage room where the fire started. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire crews were called to the future mosque at the former King Edward VII pub site on Aylsham Road at around 1.40am on Monday, July 27 – days before the start of the Eid-ul-Adha festival on Friday, July 31.

It is currently in the process of a £1million revamp by the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust with the hope of turning the former watering hole into a new mosque and community café for their 250-strong congregation, currently based on Rose Lane.

Police are investigating the attack.

Sirajul Islam, secretary of the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Trust, said the trust iswaiting to find out if it has an extra financial burden to take on after submitting a claim with its insurance company.

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, with the debris from the burnt out storage area after the fire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, with the debris from the burnt out storage area after the fire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The project has already been hit by the attack, as the facilities could be out of use for months while repairs are made.

He said: “The main building is okay, but the extension, toilets and storage are completely damaged. We have insurance and we’ve already made a claim, so we are hoping that the insurance will cover the damage.

“I think for the next two or three months we won’t be able to use the facilities at all.”

But amid their devastation, Mr Islam said he “can’t believe how much support we are getting” from the whole community in the city.

The fire damaged roof in the wash room at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe fire damaged roof in the wash room at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“The sympathy and support we are getting is enormous.

“I had a phone call from most community leaders – the Bishop of Norwich, the leader of Norwich City Council and the mayor Vaughan Thomas came to our congregation.

“Most of the councillors and community leaders have made personal phone calls and emails too which is all positive.”

To help them to continue with their revamp plans, and without the use of government funding or grants, the community has launched an online crowdfunding page with the hope of raising £40,000.

Prayers are still going on in the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, where there was a fire in a storage area. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPrayers are still going on in the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, where there was a fire in a storage area. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Islam said: “The project itself is really big and we’re still in the first phase – there is quite a lot that needs to be done still so we are in need.”


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