A Christian church has been accused of a “lack of unity” after it rejected a Muslim group’s bid to hold Koran studies in its hall.
A group of Muslims wanted to use the Feed My Lambs church hall – a former infant school – for “Koran and cultural studies”, and they had already used it twice.
But after initially being allowed to hire the space, their cheque for hiring it again was returned to them.
Today, the Church in Wales said the hall – which was part-funded by Heritage Lottery money – was available for “secular” activities.
But Kenny Khan, the councillor representing the Muslim group – said the decision was disappointing and seemed like a backwards step.
‘I was very clear that they were Muslims’
He added: “It was all explained clearly to the church that it was for religious and cultural classes.
“I was very clear that they were Muslims. There was no ambiguity.”
Three days after their first meeting, Cllr Khan received a phone call from Llanbeblig Rector, the Reverend Roger Donaldson who, although not party to the arrangement, said there had been “a misunderstanding” and that they couldn’t accept the cheque for £320, which was sent to Llanbeblig Parochial Church Council.
Mr Khan – who is not Muslim himself – added: “Christians and Muslims joined together in Bangor after the Manchester bombing.
“The church knew it was going to be used for cultural classes.
“Two men from the church came into the hall to collect the cheque and actually saw the congregation praying on their mats.
“These people pay local taxes. The hall has been Lottery-funded and is for the use of the community. They’ve accepted the cheque and something has happened.”
But Rev Donaldson told the Daily Post there had been a “misunderstanding”, and that it was initially thought the group were looking to use the hall for bible studies.
He said: “The understanding was they were going to hold ‘bible readings’.
“We are not against Islam; no way. Everybody has the right to worship as they please.
“We are not against colour or race. It was just not possible. There has been a breakdown in our public relations.”
In a further statement issued today by the Church in Wales, Reverend Donaldson said: “Feed My Lambs is used for Christian worship and is considered to be a place of worship….