Cork Muslim community seeks replacement imam

A rapidly expanding community of Muslims wants to hire a new imam, or spiritual leader.

The vacancy has arisen following the relocation to Dublin of the previous holder, Imam Salem, pictured leading prayers in Cork.

The highly specialised job, which has been advertised by the Cork Muslim Society, comes with a €2,500 monthly salary and an immediate start date. The position is open to men only.

A spokesman for the society said the vacancy has arisen following the relocation to Dublin of the previous holder, Imam Salem.

He was one of the founder members in 2006 of the Irish Council of Imams — a body which represents the 14 or so imams working in Ireland of both the Sunni and Shia traditions.

The new Cork imam will take on the role of religious minister to the region’s estimated 5,000 Muslims.

The imam will be expected to lead Islamic prayer and religious services, but he will also be expected to take on a larger role in providing community support and spiritual advice.

Applicants for the job should know and understand the Quran; be able to recite it correctly; be versed in Islamic studies and Sharia law; and have achieved a bachelor or masters degree in Sharia law.

The society spokesman said the imam will be expected to work flexible hours and be on call seven days a week.

Part of the role includes organising religion and Arabic language lessons for children, as well as religion classes for adults.

It is also hoped that the new imam will continue the tradition of reaching out to the wider community, and forging links with other faiths and religions.

The number of Muslims here has increased steadily since the 1990s, although most are not Irish nationals. The 2011 census found 49,204 Muslims in Ireland.

The Cork Muslim Society was established in 1984 with a very small community. Its members initially worshipped in adapted private houses in various parts of the city. However, as numbers grew, fuelled in part by an influx of medical and university professionals, the community had to find larger and more suitable premises in which to worship and hold religion classes.

Today, the community, whose numbers have been boosted by a steady rise in the number of Saudi Arabian students attending UCC, has a permanent mosque on the Tramore Road, which is at the centre of a major building and expansion project.

After some initial controversy over a range of planning issues, which were subsequently clarified, an education centre has been developed on Shandon St.

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