Together we are stronger

4 men standing in front of a chapel
Left to right: David Clifford – ward member, Mr Liaqat Hussain - Islamic Congregation leader, Bishop Dan Grant, Shahid Azeem High Sheriff of Surrey and Chairman of Aldershot Football Club

At the end of September 2020, with little time to find an alternative, a local Muslim community were left with nowhere to worship. Chairman of Aldershot Football club, Shahid Azeem, asked his local councillor friend David Clifford, for help in finding a temporary alternative venue for their worship.

David Clifford, who is also a member of the River Wey Ward in Staines Stake, called his Bishop, Dan Grant to ask if the Muslim community could use the Ward’s chapel until they found another place to worship. Bishop Grant was happy to help and said, “We have been blessed to have a building which we are more than willing to share with our local community when we can safely do so. It makes me happy to think our Muslim brothers and sisters may use the building to worship and pray as do we.”

Shahid was thrilled and impressed that the Church would be so generous, the only stipulation being that a Priesthood holder would allow access to the chapel and ensure that everything was kept tidy.

The leader of the Muslim community, Liaqat Hussain, commented that the simplicity of the chapel and lack of religious symbols suits their worship services perfectly. He also said, “We are so grateful to Bishop Daniel and Cllr David Clifford for bending over backwards to accommodate us and make us most welcome. This is a great way to demonstrate the multi faith groups working together in harmony.”

The whole process happened relatively quickly. Shahid asked David for help on the 29th of September and the first prayer meeting was able to be held on the 9th of October, just over a week later. The Muslim community will continue to use the chapel until they find another place to worship. What a wonderful example of a community working together to find a solution to a problem!