On behalf of the Muslim Community, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast & Belfast city Council for their support for the Muslim Community of Belfast and for hosting representatives of BIC and NIMFA in City Hall this evening to celebrate 40 years of the formal establishment of Belfast Islamic Centre. Also, we would like to wish The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Hargey a speedy recovery and send our best wishes to the Lord Mayor.
Belfast Islamic Centre was formally established in October 1978. It was originally sited on Eglantine Avenue and moved to our current premises on Wellington Park shortly afterwards. Some of the Muslim community members attending today (or their parents) were involved with the establishment & purchase of the property so we are very grateful for their contributions.
The centre operates for the benefit of all Muslims irrespective of their ethnic background, gender, country of origin or age. At present those who use the centre represent around 48 nationalities. We provide a number of services to our users and the community at large. Many of our members provide vital services to the people of NI in fields such as Medicine, Education, Service Industries and Business. Not only in recent years, but even during the darkest days of the troubles.
Given the limited amount of space, we have been constrained by what we could achieve and therefore have purchased a new centre on the University Road opposite the Crescent Church. We already have planning permission and building control approval and are currently in the process of fundraising. We look forward to welcoming you all to our new building as soon as possible!