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UK's first Turkish Shacklewell Lane Mosque faces threat to its future

UK's first Turkish mosque faces threat to its future. The UK's first Turkish mosque, based in north-east London, may need to shut or be downsized due to increased costs and a "dwindled down congregation", its owner has said.The Masjid Ramadan, also known as the Shacklewell Lane Mosque, in Dalston, was established in 1977 as a place of worship for the area's Turkish Cypriot community.Erkin Güney, 59, who owns and runs mosque, told the BBC his bills had tripled in recent years.He added that while he had received increased donations and support from the wider Muslim community in the area, the mosque still faces an uncertain future.

The Masjid Ramadan

The Masjid Ramadan, also known as the Shacklewell Lane Mosque, opened in 1977.“It’s quite sad really," he said. "We’ve been here since 1977, the first Turkish mosque in the UK and I’ve seen the change.“Our community has passed away, moved out or gone back to northern Cyprus. Congregations have dwindled down." The building, which Mr Güney said was formerly a synagogue, was built in 1903 and needs "a lot of work".

Monthly costs work out at about £4,000 per month but donations from worshippers have failed to match this with about £200 to 400 collected each week.

He added that on maintenance costs "we’re falling short anything between £17,000 and £20,000 per year”.

'Difficult to sustain'

Mr Güney said if the financial situation was not turned around soon he faced the prospect of having to downsize the mosque with parts of the building being redeveloped into apartment and retail space.“It would be a tragedy to do that. This is a very beautiful building with millions of prayers being said over the years," he told BBC Radio London.He said that while the number of worshippers remain high for Friday prayers, the mosque is "difficult to sustain" when there are reduced numbers of visitors during the week.About £10,000 has been raised in donations from the wider community, which Mr Güney said was "amazing", but he added about £200,000 was still required to help make the building "good and safe".“We’ve got a long way to go before we come out of the red," he said. (James W Kelly, BBC News)

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