How non-Muslims rallied in support of mosque on devoutly Christian Isle of Lewis

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

A devoutly Christian island, on Scotland's Outer Hebrides, is getting its first ever mosque, thanks to donations from non-Muslim residents.

In Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, where a strict interpretation of Christian reigns, residents have lumped together to donate toward to the erection of the island's first mosque.

On an island that still halts work on the Sabbath, Muslims from all over the country have come together to build the mosque, despite only about 80 of the island's 18,000 residents practising Islam.

After a tough start with some locals, many residents have happily donated towards the fund, eager to see the only mosque within 100 miles.

"When we started building the mosque, people were not even saying hello. When I went to shake their hands, they were not interested, they would turn their face that way," said builder Aihtsham Rashid.

"Now, people are actually coming themselves, to the door, donating, to the mosque, islanders, who are Christians, hardliners," he added.

Many residents have happily donated towards the fund. Credit: ITV News

There has been fierce opposition from the local church, who say that "Islam is a false religion, fundamentally incompatible with Christianity."

Reverand Graeme Craig, of Free Church of Scotland Continuing, added: "I'm not interested in dialogue, and trying to make out that we are the same, because we're not and it would be deceitful to suggest that Islam and Christianity are the same."

Reverand Graeme Craig, of Free Church of Scotland Continuing, is opposed to the mosque. Credit: ITV News

None of the other churches on the island have opposed the mosque and many locals are excited about the project.

One said: "I'm looking forward to see what they've got, and I think it's about time."

Another said: "They wanted donations for prayer mats, so we went down yesterday and donated."

Khalil Amjad, who has been without a mosque for four decades, hosting prayers in his living room and attending Muslim funerals in a garage, says he is "very happy" the mosque is being built.

He added: "Just god help us and we manage to complete it, its a mission for us to complete that."