The Malta Independent 17 June 2019, Monday

Mepa approves building of secondary school next to mosque

Malta Independent Friday, 5 July 2013, 07:51 Last update: about 5 years ago

The Mepa board yesterday also approved the building of a secondary school next to the already existing primary school within the grounds of the Paola mosque.

Architect Martin Debono, presenting the application, said the primary school has 300 students and there is a great demand for it. The idea is that the primary school students go up to secondary level without having to go to government schools.

The primary school, Mariam Al Batool school, is unique in the world for while its students are Muslim, 80% of its teachers and even the headmistress are Catholic. This is a bridge-making development which has been praised by people such as Archbishop Cremona and the late Guido de Marco.

Originally, it was planned the secondary school would be built in derelict land at the back but in recent years a strip of this land has been taken and given over to houses. But the school authorities rearranged the plans and fitted in everything, including a football ground and a gym in an area earmarked for recreation.

The secondary school would cater for 270 students with all the latest technology and ecological improvements such as passive air cooling, solar energy on the roof, LED lights, light wells on the top floor, three labs and an audiovisual room.

One issue that arose in the meeting was the concern, expressed by neighbours from Cospicua Road, that while they did not object to the school, they feared the football ground would be let out to others and the neighbours would have shouting and screaming 10 metres away from their bedrooms as late as 11pm.

Mr Debono pointed out the football ground is not enclosed so if the ground needed to be used after school hours, they would need extra security for the whole mosque area. Mepa deputy chairman Franco Montesin pointed out that at St Martins people play 5-a-side until late. A resident insisted this is a diplomatic site but he was corrected by the Imam who said this is government land but not a diplomatic site.

The Imam also said that as a community they are always sensitive to the needs of the neighbours. When, in the early years, the call for prayer was broadcast from the mosque, the neighbours complained and even sent the police and the community stopped the practice which is normal for mosques everywhere.

The application was approved unanimously.

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