A Chorleywood resident is delighted after a dispute over religious bookings in the village hall has been resolved.
Without a specified place for Muslims to practice their faith in the area, Misbah Jalil had a deal in place with Chorleywood Parish Council (CPC) to use the War Memorial Hall for Friday prayers from January 6 through to March 31.
When Misbah attempted to hire the hall throughout Ramadan for evening Tarawih prayers, the congregation was told that this went against the Charities Act 1960, and that religious bookings were not allowed to take place in the village hall. Not only were Tarawih prayers unable to take place, but the group was also told that their regular Friday prayers would be unable to continue past March.
The matter was discussed at an Extraordinary Village Halls Management Committee meeting on March 28. It was heard that the provisional view of the Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) planning department was that the use of the hall for congregational worship would not give rise to a breach of planning control.
It was decreed that the Friday prayers would be allowed to continue. However, allowing the request for the daily use during the month of Ramadan “risked the charity getting into trouble with the Charity Commission”.
Misbah said: “Obviously, we’re disappointed that Tarawih is unavailable for us this year, but undoubtedly, we’re very pleased that we’ve been allowed to continue. Numbers had really started to dwindle after we heard we would no longer be allowed to use the hall, but on Easter Friday we had our biggest attendance yet.”
CPC has been contacted for comment.