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New Addington could provide Muslim sect with base for new mosque

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NEW ADDINGTON could be on course to get its first mosque, with local leaders of a minority Muslim sect considering the area for a new base.

The Shirley branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is looking to open a new base and considers New Addington a good proposition thanks to a growing Ahmadi community there.

Founded in northern India in the late 19th century, the international Ahmaddiya movement has a large mosque in Morden as well as one in West Croydon.

Its Shirley branch chairman, Ahmad Sharif, said the group would be keen to get a site in New Addington, but is also looking further afield such as in Addington, Shirley and South Croydon.

He said: "We have quite a few members living in New Addington so we are looking around the area.

"We are looking for something for the local community and somewhere to get to know each other. Somewhere we can do community work, do some community meetings and do some worship as well in there.

"Somewhere safe where we can go and everyone in the [wider] community is welcome."

The estate has several thriving churches serving many denominations but as yet nothing serving other main faiths.

Mr Sharif said his group had recently nearly bought a building in Addington Park, Addington, but the plan fell through at the last minute due to difficulties over planning permission.

The dad-of-four added it had also once looked at a building near King Henry's Drive, but that was also stymied by planning rules saying the building be used to create jobs. The group is volunteer-run.

He also thought the former library building in Central Parade might be a good temporary space until the planned redevelopment of the area gets under way, he added.

Mr Sharif said the Ahmadi community in the estate had been growing over the past two or three years, and now made up a significant proportion of the Shirley branch's more than 350 members.

He said: "The housing up there [in New Addington] is very reasonable and people are moving in from all over."

The Ahmadiyya movement has its headquarters in the UK due to facing persecution in Pakistan; it is considered heretical by many orthodox Muslims.

The Croydon branches do lots of volunteer and charity work in the borough, including an annual New Year's Day clean-up of the town centre.

Mr Sharif said any base would be used mainly at weekends and for Friday prayers, adding: "We don't make music or anything; people come in quietly and go out quietly."

New Addington could provide Muslim sect with base for new mosque


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