Calls for Roscommon council to build mosque

Businessman says bringing Syrian refugees to Ballaghaderreen ‘is punishment for them’

Longford-based Pakistani businessman Muhammad Aslam wants the State to build a mosque in Ballaghaderreen. Photo: David Sleator

Longford-based Pakistani businessman Muhammad Aslam wants the State to build a mosque in Ballaghaderreen. Photo: David Sleator

 

A Longford-based Pakistani businessman has called on the Government or Roscommon County Council to build a mosque in Ballaghaderreen.

Muhammad Aslam has also claimed that estate agents discriminate against Pakistanis and that bringing Syrian refugees to Ballaghaderreen “is punishment for them”.

Mr Aslam expresses most of his opinions in a new monthly freesheet Leader News, 12,000 copies of which have been circulated in midland counties. Most of its content is in Urdu with some in English.

Seen by The Irish Times, under the heading “Ballaghaderreen News”, he claims to have met Government officials in Dublin seeking a leisure centre in the town as youth there “are losing their moral (sic) which is a bad sign for the future of youths (sic)”.

Place to worship

He told them in Ballaghaderreen the “Pakistani community don’t have a proper place to worship and for holy educations (sic)”.

On Shannonside radio he said on Monday the Government and local authority, maybe Roscommon County Council should provide a space and funds to build a mosque or an education centre where people could also pray freely.

He said he could not understand why the Government was bringing Syrian refugees to Ballaghaderreen. “The town is like a desert. There’s no activity there, no business there, if you bring Syrians there you are punishing them. What are they going to do?” he asked. “They are going to feel like they are in a prison,” he said. “I think this is punishment for them.”

He said Pakistanis in the area “are all poor people. There are no jobs in Ballaghaderreen especially”.

Pakistanis came there 15 years ago to work in a local halal slaughterhouse, which has since closed, he said.