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Article for Stirling Observer:

The Islamic Centre in Stirling has been offering a service to the Primary schools for the past six years where they provide a structured guided tour of the centre.

We get requests regularly from Schools and each year around 600 children come to the centre. It is mainly primary 5-7 classes although we have entertained primary 3 and 4 classes also.

The National curriculum involves the study of different faiths in our multi-cultural society. The Islamic centre tours help to give a better insight into the Muslim faith. It also gives the children an idea about the function of a Mosque within the Muslim community. Many schools use the centre as part of the teaching of the Muslim faith.

The tours are organised by volunteers from the local Muslim community. These volunteers take time out from their busy lives and have helped to make this project a success. The demand for visits has steadily grown over the years and so has the team and the level of commitment required.

The tour involves an introduction to the Stirling Mosque followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran by the Imam. The Quran is the religious scripture of the Muslim faith. After a brief introduction to the role of the Mosque, the classes are divided into four smaller groups.

The guides take these four groups around the centre. After the tour, the children assemble in the community hall for a presentation about different aspects of the Muslim faiths.

There are also light snacks provided by the centre. This presentation is interactive and the children are encouraged to participate. A questions and answer session concludes the visit.

Ahmet Ozbey, one of the guides, explained, "The children seem to enjoy the guided tour immensely. They are fascinated by their surroundings and also enjoy touring the centre. In this day and age, it provides an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about Islam. The children treat this as a day out and tend to be buzzing with questions throughout the tour."

Zaheer Haider, another regular guide said, "From the response we get back from the children, we find that their favourite part of the tour is the Wudhu area of the Mosque. Here the Muslims wash up before they pray in a process called Wudhu. This gives the children and teachers a practical demonstration of the Wudhu"

Molana Arif , the Imam of the Central Scotland Islamic centre said " The Mosque has traditionally been a centre of study and worship throughout history. We have many groups from the community who use the resources offered by the centre. These groups range from children Arabic and Urdu classes to women's study groups"

The Islamic centre was established on Burghmuir Road in 1992 when the former DSS building was purchased. It was totally funded by donations from the local Muslims. It was completely altered during 1993 and 1994 to provide a main prayer hall, Wudhu area (Washing), Kitchen, library and Community hall.

The hundred or so Muslim families that stay in central Scotland established the Islamic centre. Its primary purpose is to serve the spiritual needs of the Muslim community. The centre is now a multi-faceted education and cultural centre whose services have become a valuable asset to Stirling District.

Apart from the Muslim community and the various children's classes and visits, there have also been tours for the chiefs of Police and chiefs of the Fire service. Many individuals and groups have approaching the centre over the years for information and assistance.

Schools that have participated include-
Dollar Academy
St. Ninians Primary
Riverside Primary
Dunblane Primary
Cambusbarron Primary
Bridge of Allan Primary
Auchterrader Primary

The Islamic Centre can be contacted on 01786 474324 or contact Mr Shakoor on 01786 463791. You can drop in to see Imam Arif between the hours of 1pm- 9pm. Or drop an email tothe address below.

More information about the centre