A hospital in Manchester, UK has dropped a proposal to close a Catholic chapel and turn it into a prayer room for Muslims after thousands signed a petition against the move.
Breitbart London reported on Monday that the petition had nearly 5,000 signatures from people protesting the plan. Since then, over 1,000 more signed and the hospital finally dropped the idea at a meeting last night.
The hospital already has two Muslim prayer rooms, but the one used by men does not have washing facilities. The proposal was to convert the Catholic chapel of St Raphael into a new prayer room for Muslims, with Catholics sharing a chapel with Protestants.
Fr Ged Murphy, who started the petition, told the Manchester Evening News: “I am delighted that it is not being closed. What was pleasing was that members of the Muslim community signed our petition.
“A member of the Catholic chaplaincy had been instrumental in getting Muslim prayer rooms established at the hospital.
“I hope that a space can be found at the hospital which is more suitable to the needs of the Muslim community.”
Councillor Pat Karney, who attended the meeting where the plans were shelved, added: “I had a productive meeting at the hospital where future facilities for different faiths was discussed.
“I am very pleased for thousands of Catholic families in North Manchester to whom this chapel is very important that it is staying open.”
The Rev John Hall, chaplaincy coordinator for the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust, said: “As a trust we recognise how important the provision of dedicated faith and prayer rooms are at our hospitals for our staff, patients, carers and visitors of all faiths.
“As such – despite some media reports and comments and concerns posted on social media – we can confirm the trust has no plans to close any facilities, including the Catholic Chapel here, and we will not be changing or converting this important and well-used chapel into any other prayer room.”