DUNDEE – Encouraging interfaith dialogue, a new mosque has been opened in Dundee University in eastern Scotland to accommodate Muslim prayers and promote better understanding of Islamic culture in the wider community.
“I am delighted that the mosque has been completed,” Mirza Al-Sayegh, a member of Al-Maktoum Foundation’s board of trustees and chairman of the college board, told The BBC.
“I’m sure it will prove to be a welcome addition not only to the college campus but also Dundee as well at a time of exciting change in the city.”
The new £1.35m Al-Maktoum Mosque has recently opened on the campus of Dundee’s Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education.
The mosque, the first in the city with a minaret, included prayer rooms which would be open to all faiths.
It was financed by the Al-Maktoum Foundation, which was established in Scotland in 2005.
“The mosque is open to all and for the benefit of all,” Al-Sayegh said.
“We regard this development as a heartfelt contribution to the city, the community at large and to multiculturalism.”
Scotland is home to more than 500,000 Muslims, making up less than one percent of the population.
Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has thirty mosques.
The mosque was intended to promote cross-cultural understanding of Islam and Muslims in the wider community.
“The college continues to focus purely on scientific, intellectual and non faith-based activities to promote the cross-cultural understanding of Islam and Muslims in conjunction with members of other religions and none in such a crucial time,” Dr Hossein Godazgar, acting principal of the college, said.
The college was already working to cross religious barriers and establish a dialogue with the Catholic Church.
“We are, of course, pleased to represent multiculturalism in geographic terms, too. Our main building is already attached to a Catholic Church and we are now seeing a mosque being added to this physical geography,” Godazgar said.
“I hope our neighborhood will include even more buildings belonging to different faith communities in future.”
The new mosque followed recent reports warning from increasing Islamophobia.
An annual statistic about hate crimes showed a rise in assaults against Muslims in Scotland.