Monthly Archives: August 2013

Daily Ausaf Article on Islamic Academy

This article was published in the Daily Ausaf on 27th August 2013.

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Save the Islamic Academy of Manchester – Urgent Action Points

We thank you all for the support that we have received to date in opposing the proposed redevelopment of The Islamic Academy of Manchester as postgraduate student flats. Below is a reminder of the various ways in which can help us. Note there is a sense of urgency now as the planning application consultation expiry date is 10th September 2013.
Below are some updated action points by which you can assist our campaign.
1. Object to the planning application
Reference: 102531/FO/2013/N2

– Contact the Head of Planning, Julie Roscoe, and the case officer, Sue Wills as
as soon as possible:
Email: j.roscoe@manchester.gov.uk (Julie Roscoe)
Email: s.wills@manchester.gov.uk (Sue Wills)
Postal address: Manchester City Council, P.O. Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA
Planning Department (to object in person): Manchester City Council, Planning Service, Number One First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN (Sat Nav M1 5DE)

When Objecting to the plans, in particular make reference to the eviction of the Islamic Academy of Manchester from the ‘Sunday School’ building to make flats.

– Make a comment directly via the Manchester Planning Portal. Links below:

http://pa.manchester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MN8OT8BC6K000
http://pa.manchester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MN8OTKBC6K000

Click on the ‘Make a Public Comment’ button – note you will have to Register and Log In before you can make your comment.

Make your own comment about what you object to but if possible stick to planning issues and try to refer back to the actual plans themselves.

2. Lobby the City Councillor and MP of your own ward and of the City Centre

The MP for the City Centre is Lucy Powell MP (http://lucypowell.org.uk/)
Email: contact@lucypowell.org.uk
Postal address: Lucy Powell MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
3. Raise your concerns with English Heritage
(Historic Buildings Inspector, Julian.holder@english-heritage.org.uk)

4. Raise your concerns with your local councillors.

The councillors for the Ardwick Ward are:

Tina Hewitson: cllr.t.hewitson@manchester.gov.uk 0161 637 7045

Mavis Smitheman: cllr.m.smitheman@manchester.gov.uk 0161 683 5282

Bernard Priest: cllr.b.priest@manchester.gov.uk 0161 740 8407 (Home).

3. Sign the online petition, http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/islamicacademy/signatures

4. Raise awareness of our campaign in the community

You can do this by spreading our petition link, asking people to take part in our campaign and joining our Facebook and Twitter pages.

5. Financial support for legal and campaign costs

You can quickly and easily make an online donation via the Donate page on our website or via Paypal (link on our homepage).

6. Moral support

We request your thoughts and prayers to help us succeed against this plan to turn a vibrant place of worship into unwanted student flats.

7. Contact the media outlets who have written misleading reports about the development plans.

These articles make no reference to the plight of The Islamic Academy (see our website for details of these articles which appeared in the Manchester Evening News and thebusinessdesk.com)

Read 0ur full press statement by clicking here

“Student rooms plan for derelict church”

We have just come across the following article which has been published by TheBusinessDesk.com:

http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/northwest/news/504000-student-rooms-plan-for-derelict-church.html?news_section=4150#

Similar to the Manchester Evening News article, it makes no reference to The Islamic Academy which occupies the ‘Sunday School’ building. We request you contact the Deputy Editor, James Graham, who has written the article and inform him of the full situation and the misleading nature of their article:
0783 4 536403, Email: james.graham@thebusinessdesk.com

Full text of the article is below:

Student rooms plan for derelict church

15th August 2013

James Graham By James Graham – Deputy Editor, North West
The Welsh Baptist Chapel on Upper Brook StreetThe Welsh Baptist Chapel on Upper Brook Street

A DERBY-based developer has lodged plans to restore the the former Welsh Chapel in Manchester, listed as one of the most at risk Victorian buildings in the country.

Church Converts is proposing to turn the chapel and an adjoining Sunday school building into upmarket accommodation aimed at post-graduate students.

It says the £4m-£5m project is fully funded and will not rely on grant support from the likes of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The scheme would give a new lease of life to the Upper Brook Street building that is slowly decaying after having its roof removed in 2006 due to safety fears.

The grade II* listed structure was designed by Sir Charles Barry shortly before working on the Houses of Parliament and the Manchester Athenaeum, now part of the Manchester Art Gallery.

It was built as a Unitarian Chapel in 1837 and acquired by Welsh Baptists in the 1920s. The Jehovah’s Witnesses then used it in the 1960s until it was compulsorily purchased by Manchester City Council in 1974 in order to make way for a planned motorway. This idea was shelved and the building was then leased to the Islamic Academy of Manchester.

According to a planning statement Church Converts has acquired a lease from the council and plans to buy the freehold. Following a design by Derby-based Latham Architects it will convert the two buildings and add another in the grounds to create 93 flats.

Church Converts is owned by restoration architect Derek Latham, developer Simon Linford and lawyer Michael Copestake.

Mr Linford, pictured, said: “It’s great to have reached this stage in bringing thisSimon Linford Church Converts important building back to life. We want to create 93 stunning residential apartments that will benefit from the character and architectural features of this historic chapel and former Sunday School.

“In terms of saving buildings at risk, this project is as difficult as they come. We have worked closely with Manchester City Council and English Heritage to draw up plans to ensure this Grade II* listed building has a viable, sustainable future.”

Subject to planning, Church Converts hopes to have the work completed by the end of next year.

Allama Khalid Mahmud sahib

Our respected teacher and founder and Director of The Islamic Academy, Hadhrat Allama Khalid Mahmud sahib has been taken ill and is in hospital. He has had an emergency operation. We request your duas that he has a speedy recovery and Allah grants him shifa. Ameen.

Press Release – The Islamic Academy of Manchester

The Islamic Academy of Manchester is one of the oldest and most respected Islamic institutions in Manchester. We have been the tenants of the Manchester City Council (MCC) for almost 40 years, occupying the annexe of the Welsh Baptist Church (formerly the Sunday School) since 1974.

Since 1974, we have used this building (19 Chorlton Terrace, off Upper Brook St) to provide 5 daily congregational prayers, Friday prayers service, weekly classes, children’s classes, study circles, alongside youth and cultural activities. We also published a monthly magazine for many years, Al-Hilal, which had a worldwide readership. These dedicated activities have established us as a leading Islamic institution in the UK, and as a reliable source of authentic Islamic knowledge. Furthermore, our commitment to both the local community and beyond has drawn many people to us seeking guidance, pastoral care and counselling.  We feel that much of this has only been possible due to our central and prominent location. We serve Muslim residents in Ardwick, people working in Central Manchester, travellers and visitors requiring a place for prayer close to Manchester Piccadilly, and students and staff at the universities.

By the grace of God, we currently have a thriving congregation. For those that visited during the holy month of Ramadhan (July/August 2013), they will have seen this first hand with 50-60 people attending daily for the iftar (breaking of the fast meal), for example. Unlike many other places of worship, both in Manchester and other parts of the UK, where congregations are declining we have seen a steady increase in other congregation. This can be attributed to a growing Muslim population in the Ardwick area.

MCC has signed a 4 year lease with a commercial property developer, Church Converts for the Welsh Baptist Church and the Islamic Academy in March 2012. Their plans involve converting both buildings into studio apartments, largely geared towards postgraduate students. Unfortunately, Church Converts are not willing to consider a development plan that involves the Islamic Academy remaining in the annexe. Church Converts have no regard for the sanctity of religious places of worship. One of their previous projects was St John’s Church in Hanley, which they converted into a restaurant despite opposition of Christian campaigners.[1] They have served us with an eviction notice for the end of October 2013. It should also be noted that with their previous development project in Hanley, they were dealing with an unoccupied religious building. In our case, the annexe is a flourishing, vibrant and active place of worship.

We understand that Church Converts are a property development company and given their previous projects and desire for commercial gain, we never did anticipate their assistance and support in retaining the annexe as the Islamic Academy. However, we and our community and congregation expected the MCC to protect our rights, and us after 40 years of community service.

Since the 1970s we have been the tenants of MCC and during this period have never missed a single rent payment. We have honoured our lease terms although MCC neglected their obligations, which included all exterior repairs and maintenance. Over the years, we have spent thousands of pounds on the interior and exterior of the annexe, although the exterior works were not our responsibility. Thus, it is through our investment that the annexe is still a fully functional building, which has not ended up in a dilapidated state like the Welsh Baptist Church. Our efforts to protect this historical building are recognised by English Heritage who state “Fortunately the associated Sunday School building has benefitted from remaining in use as the Islamic Academy over many years…”.[2]

MCC have acknowledged their failure to undertake their obligation to maintain the exterior of both buildings as per our original lease agreement. This neglect of the Welsh Baptist Church has led to such severe dilapidation that in 2005 MCC had to carry out emergency works to remove the roof of Welsh Baptist Church. Other failings by MCC include not updating or reviewing our original lease signed in 1977. We feel that MCC have completely failed in all aspects as our landlords.

On our part, we have tried extremely hard to protect these historic buildings despite the lack of dedication by MCC. It should be noted that we have not occupied the Welsh Baptist Church since 1987. At this time, MCC were intending to conduct a survey and carry out repairs but this was never done. We proposed a substantial development plan to English Heritage and MCC, but this fell through due to the lack of commitment by MCC. We later began negotiations with MCC in 2007 to purchase the annexe but these fell through due to uncertainties pertaining to MCC’s conditions of sale.

Our grave situation has been known to the public for many years even before the Church Converts proposal.[3] Hence, we were dismayed to see erroneous information about Church Converts plans in a recent article in the Manchester Evening News, which stated we left the Welsh Baptist Church in 2005 (with no reference to the annexe).[4]

It is unprecedented for an active and flourishing place of worship to be closed down for commercial benefit. Since the public has been made aware of our plight, we have been inundated with support and have collected 1000s of signatures for our petition.

We strongly feel that MCC have an important obligation to our congregation and community. We urge MCC to consider our plight and request that:

  • MCC listens to the community who have expressed their support to retaining the Islamic Academy
  • MCC re-open negotiations with us to purchase the annexe.
  • MCC consider our alternative proposal to restore both buildings to their former glory, whilst retaining them as a place of worship and a place for the community. These are key landmark buildings which we wish to preserve for the people of Manchester.
  • MCC offers us a suitable alternative if no agreement can be reached regarding the annexe. Any alternative will only be acceptable to our congregation if it is in the current vicinity.

 Save The Islamic Academy Group
Email: info@islamicacademy.eu

18th August 2013.


[1] Trust’s anger over church restaurant conversion. This is Staffordshire. 31 July 2009. Web 16 July 2013.   http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/Trust-s-anger-church-conversion/story-12516915-detail/story.html#axzz2cAV9LLqN

[2] Church Converts Planning Application: DESIGN AND ACCESS STATEMENT (Rev.A 30.05.13) English of Letter of Support, Planning Ref. 102531/FO/2013/N

[3] HOMELESS – City’s Islamic Academy facing eviction. Manchester Evening News. 14 August 2007. Web 16 August 2013. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/homeless-1120847

[4] ‘At risk’ chapel could be resurrected as studio flats. Manchester Evening News. 15 August 2013.

For PDF of Press Statement click here

Urgent Action Required – Manchester Evening News Article

An article has appeared in today’s Manchester Evening News about the proposal by Church Converts which states ‘The chapel was last used by the Islamic Academy of Manchester until it closed in 2005 because of safety fears’.

The article is extremely inaccurate! It makes no mention that the Islamic Academy has occupied the annexe since 1974 (as tenants of Manchester City Council) and is an active, flourishing mosque.

The claim that we closed in 2005 seems to be referring to the Welsh Baptist Church. However, the Academy has not used that building since 1987!! The Council were intending to carry out repairs then and return the building back to community use but this never happened. In 2005, they carried out emergency repairs on that building after years of neglect but the annexe has continued to flourish as a mosque.

We request your help in contacting the council and clarifying the situation with the Manchester Evening News:

0161 211 2323 (MEN)
0161 211 2920 or newsdesk@men-news.co.uk (to correct inaccuracies)

Note the ‘Save the House of God’ banner visible in the picture the MEN have included with the article.

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Save the Islamic Academy Appeal

The planning application by the commercial developer, Church Converts, is now live in the Manchester City Council Planning Portal.

We hope you will support us in opposing this conversion of an active, vibrant place of worship into flats for commercial gain. You can help support our campaign immediately by:
1. Make your comments on the Manchester City Council Planning Portal
Reference: 102531/FO/2013/N2
http://pa.manchester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MN8OT8BC6K000
http://pa.manchester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MN8OTKBC6K000

Click on the ‘Make a Public Comment’ button – note you will have to Register and Log In before you can make your comment.

Make your own comment about what you object to but if possible stick to planning issues and try to refer back to the actual plans themselves.
2. Lobby the City Councillor and MP of your own ward and of the City Centre, Lucy Powell MP (http://lucypowell.org.uk/)
3. Raise your concerns with English Heritage (Historic Buildings Inspector, Julian.holder@english-heritage.org.uk)

August 2013 Prayer Timetable

June 2013

To download this timetable as a pdf click here

Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr salah will take place tomorrow, Friday 9th August 2013.

At the Islamic Academy the first jamaat will be at 8 am and the second at 10 am.

At Jamia Islamia there will be one jamaat only at 9 am. Note there is additional parking which can accommodate 100 cars in the adjacent Daisy Mill car park (entrance via Stockport Road).

Khatme Quran 2013

Khatme Quran at The Islamic Academy of Manchester will take place TODAY (Tuesday 6th) insha’Allah. Isha jamaat is at 1045 PM and the programme should begin around 1145 PM. Please come and take part in the dua and inform others. Facilities for sisters also.