The city mosque which is requesting 24-hour access
PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 August 2019
An Islamic group has made a bid to be allowed 24-hour access to its headquarters in Norwich so it can meet its prayer needs.
Currently, the Norwich and Norfolk Muslim Association is only permitted to use its mosque on Dereham Road for prayer between 7am and 11pm - with a three-hour leeway either side of this during Ramadan.
However, with Muslim prayer tied to the movement of the sun, this means at certain points of the year morning prayer time falls outside of this window.
Now, in a bid to combat this, the association has lodged a bid with Norwich City Council to remove the condition preventing use of the centre - which replaced the former Queen Charlotte pub in 2011 - outside of this time frame.
Sirajul Islam, of NNMA, said: "Because of our beliefs we pray throughout the day, at different times between sunrise and sunset - so the time of morning prayers will be different depending on what time of year it is.
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"However, we have been here since 2011 and are not looking to change anything about the way we go about our routine."
Some neighbours have raised concerns over noise and traffic disturbance from visits to the centre in the early hours.
However, Mr Islam added that typically morning prayers were the most scarcely attended of the meets, with around a dozen people attending on a good day, and that the centre was not allowed to hold 'calls to prayer'.
He said: "We always do everything in our power to limit the impact on our neighbours - we only have an internal sound system, encourage car sharing and do our very best to minimise any noise."
As part of the application, the association enlisted Adrian James Acoustics Ltd to conduct a noise assessment of the site, which found noise from the centre to be quieter than that of passing traffic on Dereham Road.
Mr Islam also said removal of the time restriction would not see an increase in the overall number of visitors to the mosque. Norwich City Council will decide the application in due course.