Agenda item



The Chair invited Haziq Patel, Hitchin Mosque to give a verbal presentation which included:


·         A mosque is more than a place of worship. It is a hub for social gatherings, a place for education, a place people can meet and gather and look after their wellbeing.

·         The original mosque in Saudi Arabia had what we now would see as a charity. It held events, had a homeless shelter, held other faith groups and cultural fairs, distributed wealth and food and funeral rights.

·         Hitchin has a well established Muslim population and the mosque was established in 1984 in a terrace residential property. It is a registered charity and the maintenance and repairs are managed from the donations and goodwill of the congregation

·         The Hitchin mosque has a broad demographic and ethnically diverse representation and edeavours to support key deprived areas our community

·         The mosque remains a valuable community ifeline for the elderly and vital support to those with disabilities and their carers

·         The Muslim population has continued to group and has subsequently outgrown the current building and we are now in desperate need for a larger premises.

·         The mosque must remain accessible as Muslims are encouraged to pray 5 times a day. The current location has allowed generation families to settle around Hitchin Walsworth and Hitchin Bearton areas

·         There is also parking, as Ramadan in particular has high levels of traffic in the evenings, as well as the Friday Community Congregational prayer at midday. The lack of dedicated parking or suitable off-road parking means that it becomes difficult for members or visitors to arrive by their own transport

·         The mosque has a growing demand to deliver after school and weekend educational classes to Muslim children. There is also occasional demand for the mosque to be visited by local schools as part of RE studies. These have to be limited in size at present

·         The Islamic Society of Hitchin participated in inter-faith meetings and has quarterly open sessions in Hitchin town with a stall. Due to lack of space we are unable to hold public sessions. We would like to offer additional services as well, such as funeral and marriage services

·         We would like to ask your help in identifying a new suitable location that can accommodate the needs and growing Muslim community and to allow us to offer more extensive services. It needs to have dedicated or suitable off-road parking, ideally with a central location, but could also be in a mixed use area to minimise congestion.


The Chair thanked Haziq Patel for his presentation.


The following members asked questions:


·         Judi Billing

·         Nigel mason

·         Keith Hoskins

·         Ian Albert

·         Chris Lucas

·         Richard Thake


In response to questions, Haziq Patel advised:


·         A mosque has certain connotations. Ideally a mosque is an open space, similar to the Church we are in tonight. It doesn’t have to be anything specific that other religious buildings may need. The two wards are well represented and well recognised as the core community. They are there naturally because the mosque is there. The mosque comes first, and the people move in around it. The mixed-use area would be a good location as it is not as far and is still accessible. We are happy to consider any land or buildings that are not in use that are suitable we could use that. We are open to anything.

·         A lot of the events happen around prayer times. So having a facility within the mosque would be needed and very helpful. The Minority Ethnic Forum have been very helpful and have been looking at solutions such as having Eid in the park or other festivities at other locations.

·         There isn’t any size necessarily. We need a lot of floor space to allow for the carpets and for people to stand. It needs to be facing a south east direction. Washing facilities are also very important. We also would like facilities for those with disabilities for example. There are other mosques in other areas that have adjacent community facilities that can be rented out and this would also be a helpful thing to look at

·         We are in the early stages of scoping