A LEADER from a Worcester mosque has said it struggled to support members of the Muslim community during the pandemic as donations to keep facilities running came to a halt.

Mohammed Iqbal, secretary at the Tallow Hill facility, said those in need had to be directed to bigger mosques in Birmingham for support after the city's mosque was hit by the government-enforced closure due to Covid-19.

Mr Iqball says the situation has shown the new mosque in Stanley Road, due to be started this year, is needed more than ever.

He said: “As community leaders, we were thrown into the deep end. As with the rest of the country, we did not envisage the challenges we would face and how we would overcome them. We weren’t able to support members of the congregation financially. We had to turn them away to bigger facilities in Birmingham.”

Places of worship had to adapt to new government guidelines as they were forced to shut for long spells last year.

Mr Iqbal added: “The mosque is a strong pillar in the Muslim community. It is a haven, a social hub, and a place of learning. Closing this space made our spiritual link difficult for us.”

Mr Iqbal said mosque leaders initially struggled to engage with their congregation and loss of income. He said, “Our donations to keep services running smoothly disappeared with no income coming from weekly donations we received from Friday congregation prayers and other key Islamic events. We immediately set up an online portal and various options for the community to donate and keep services running.”

The new facility, due to be built by 2023, will mean the community hub will have more facilities to support Muslims in Worcester. But the pandemic also meant active fundraising for the new mosque had to be stopped to avoid further financial strain on the Muslim community. Mr Iqbal added: “However we have a very generous and strong community who still supported and donated towards the project, which will help support the community should anything like this happen again.”

The project has currently raised £677,895.00 of its £3.5 million goal.