THE man who helped found Bury's first-ever Muslim place of worship could be a catalyst in solving a power struggle at the town's newest mosque.

Mr Syed Zahoor Hussan says he will appeal to religious leaders outside the town to act as peace brokers in a bid to solve the angry dispute.

The struggle centres on Bury's showpiece £260,000 mosque and concerns two separate groups vying for power.

An executive committee, which runs the Khizra Mosque in Walmersley Road and which also had responsibility for the now closed mosque in Cook Street, says it should be in charge at Parker Street.

But it has made no headway in its bid to hold elections.

In the other camp a group of seven - including four Muslims who donated £92,000 towards the £120,000 cost of buying the Parker Street building and land - have formed a trust to run the place of worship.

As the dispute continues Mr Hussan, who helped establish Bury's mosque in Walmersley Road in 1969, said he is contacting religious leaders in Manchester and elsewhere to ask for their help.

"I will ask them to talk to our own priest and hopefully that will pave the way for talks between both sides. Hopefully, the whole issue can be sorted out." And Mr Hussan has put forward a highly unconventional yet controversial method of appointing trustees for Parker Street.

"All the names of the members should be put into the hat and a child asked to pick out the names. This would be acceptable to all of us."

Mr Hussan, who is highly respected throughout the Bury Muslim community, wants negotiation rather than litigation to settle the dispute.

"The majority of members want this solved amicably without resorting to the courts," he said.

"And I will do everything possible to try to reach a settlement."

Mr Hussan says one body of trustees should be responsible for running both the Parker Street and Walmersley Road mosques.

The Bury Times understands there are behind-the-scenes moves to end the deadlock although both sides have no plans as yet to meet face to face.

Last November there were ugly scenes at the mosque when worshippers from the two sides clashed. Nine people were treated in hospital for their injuries.

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