More than half the target of £50,000 to help build the first mosque-centre in Stornoway has been raised on justgiving.com in just over two days.

Permission for the conversion of a derelict Stornoway house to a mosque and community centre for the Western Isles Muslim community was granted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar  on Thursday, September 31st, 2017,  at a meeting of the local authority’s planning application committee.

The plans involves a long-disused house in James Street, adjacent to the former Church House premises of ND Macleod Ltd, which are soon to be the base for welovestornoway.com and EVENTS newspaper.

Work on the old house got under way in past few weeks with the property being cleared out and work starting on the roof and walls.

The restored building will be used for religious events, weddings and funerals as well as worship as the Muslim population in the islands has been boosted recently with the arrival of several Syrian refugees.

The community, which has owned the James Street property for around seven years, hope the new centre will give their members additional social and religious support, help new members to feel more at home in the islands, and increase congregation opportunities.

Speaking to www.welovestornoway last year, a spokesperson for the community said: “We currently congregate at a house but there is not enough space in a small living room for everyone and we feel heartbroken when people have attended but can’t participate and that makes them feel left out too, and we don’t want anyone to feel like that, especially after the traumatic experience they have had coming from a war zone.”