University of East Anglia plans to close Islamic Centre

A university Islamic Society said it is shocked one of its centres is to close.

The centre at the University of East Anglia is used for Friday prayers and is often visited by students at other times of the week.

The university said that the arrangement was always temporary and that permission had now lapsed.

Mohammed Patel, of the Islamic Society, said no-one knew closure was imminent and claimed a multi-faith chaplaincy was too small.

Mr Patel said: "When I first heard about the plan last Friday I went straight to the students' union to ask for details.

"No-one there knew about the move and no-one in the university's Islamic Society had been informed.

"It's a pretty shocking way to handle it.

"We already share the chaplaincy especially when students do not have time to reach the Islamic Centre on the campus to pray.

"The space there, however, is too small to accommodate those who want to attend Friday prayers."

Multi-faith building offered

One of the pro-vice chancellors at the university Professor Tom Ward said: "The centre was always going to have to move at the end of the planning permission.

"We are adapting the building so that space in the chaplaincy can be used especially so that separate rooms can accommodate men and women."

"I can understand they are unhappy but there has been no ambiguity. The facilities were always temporary and we've come to the end of that time.

"The centre was used by people not from the university and while we welcome them on campus our obligation is to students and staff.

"The answer is to use the multi-faith building where each should accommodate the others."

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