A Bishopbriggs church has opened its doors to help worshippers whose mosque was torched by thugs in a suspected ‘hate crime’.
The minister and congregation at Springfield Cambridge Church have offered temporary accommodation in their building to the local Muslim community for prayers.
Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre at Auchinairn Road, also known as Al-Farooq, suffered interior and exterior damage after the blaze in the early hours of Tuesday, November 17.
Police are investigating the fire as a possible ‘hate crime’ and are appealing for witnesses.
Springfield minister the Reverend Ian Taylor said: “After the Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre serving the Muslim community was destroyed in an arson attack, Christians in Bishopbriggs came together through our local ecumenical group, Bishopbriggs Churches Together, to discuss what we could do to help our Muslim brothers and sisters.
“We sent them a card expressing our disappointment and sorrow and asked if we could offer them temporary accommodation.
“They called us and accepted, so after meeting with Muslim representatives on December 2, we agreed they will use a room within Springfield Cambridge Church to hold prayers. They started to use the room on December 4 and can stay as long they need to.
“As Christians we believe that love is stronger than hate. So we hope that some good can come out of this destructive act.
“By reaching out at this time of sorrow and fear we hope to build stronger relationships between Christians and Muslims in Bishopbriggs.”
Mr Shafiq Shariff, the secretary of of Al-Farooq centre, said: “We were very pleased by the churches approach as we had no place to go.
“The offer of accommodation by the church for prayers is very much appreciated and gives our community the chance to get together.
“We hope we can get the building repaired as soon as possible.”
Since the wilful fire-raising, which happened days after the terrorist attack in Paris, people of all faiths in Bishopbriggs and beyond have been rallying round to help raise the £10,000 needed to rebuild the mosque.
So far, more than £1,000 has been raised through two online crowdfunding campaigns, one by the Muslim community and the other by local people “to stand in solidarity with centre users”.
Here are the links to the two crowdfundraising campaigns: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bishopbriggs-muslim-cultural-centre-1 and http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bishopbriggs-musallah