New Islamic Cultural Centre opens in Cork city
Dawah Centre had been warned by council last month on alleged use as place of worship
Workers embroider the Kiswa, a silk cloth covering the Holy Kaaba, in the holy city of Mecca this week. The owner of a new Islamic Cultural Centre on Shandon Street in Cork city, which was officially opened yesterday, has pledged to make the facility a vibrant part of the wider community. Photograph: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
The Cork Dawah Centre hit the headlines last month when it emerged that the planning department at the local city council had issued a warning letter to owner Dr Farghal Radwan over how the building was being operated.
The concern was that the building was allegedly being used outside specific opening hours and as a place of worship rather than an information and cultural centre.
The centre was officially opened yesterday by the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Catherine Clancy. An open day followed which enabled locals to tour the centre and learn more about its work.
Dr Radwan, who is a consultant anaesthetist at the Bon Secours Hospital, said he is hopeful “misconceptions” about the centre will be cleared up in the coming weeks.
“We are part of the community in the Shandon area and we are trying to prove to locals that there is no issue here. The central location is very important for us as it covers the needs of Muslim students who will come here for information. Irish schools can visit and we will give them tours. The opening went very well and we look forward to a long relationship with the people of Shandon Street.”
Dr Radwan said the centre has been in the news recently in relation to prayer.
“But it is important for everyone to understand that whether one is at work, at home or in this centre and it is prayer time, one has to pray. Each of the hospitals in the city has a prayer room, as has UCC and others, so why would we not allow for prayer in our centre?”
Yesterday’s official opening was attended by the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, in addition to city councillors Mick Nugent and Henry Cremin, representatives of the centre and local residents.
An estimated 5,000 Muslims live in the Cork area. The centre is an Irish-registered non-profit organisation established to “invite Muslims back to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah and to educate Non Muslims about Islam”.