A NEW low traffic system is causing issues for Muslims attending their local Mosque.

The controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods [LTNs] scheme was introduced to Church Cowley, Temple Cowley, and Florence Park in March by Oxfordshire County Council as an attempt to reduce air pollution and promote an active lifestyle.

Some Muslims in Oxford have said since the scheme was introduced, however, they have had several issues getting to the Mosque on Manzil Way in Cowley, and are worried that the possible introduction of LTNs to East Oxford will only make matters worse.

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If the East Oxford LTN goes ahead more traffic filters will be placed on the 'rat runs' between Cowley Road and Iffley Road.

Maz Dogar, who lives on Mayfair Road, said he was concerned about missing Jumu'ah - the prayer that takes place every Friday.

He said: "The critical thing is, that we have five fixed prayer times in the Muslim calendar – they are not variable, they cannot take place at other times.

“Our most important prayer takes place on a Friday and if these new East Oxford LTNs are passed, it will quickly become a nightmare for people getting there on time.”

According to the 2011 Government census, there are over 10,000 Muslims in Oxford. - meaning is Islam is the second most popular religion in the city, after Christianity. 

In Oxford alone, there are four Mosques, each located nearby to where LTNs are installed or proposed to go. 

Mr Dogar said that he is also concerned that children, who attend after school lessons to learn the Quran at the Mosque's, will be missing out as 'increase in traffic' means parents run out of time to take their child home and back to the Mosque for class.

Nisar Sadiq, who also attends the Manzil Way Mosque, said: “I know no Oxford like the back of my hand, and we do not have a good grid system for the roads – instead you have these three major roads, Iffley Road, Cowley Road, and St Clements. 

“My family and I would usually go to the Mosque five times a day, but since the LTNs I have not been going as much because the traffic has worsened.”

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Mr Sadiq said he needs to use the car to get to the Mosque, as paying for public transport for six people is ‘not feasible’.

Oxford City Councillor for Temple Cowley, Saj Malik said he had also heard from ‘very concerned’ residents about what the proposed East Oxford LTNs would mean for those attending the Mosque.

He said: “Because of the LTNs people have nearly missed Friday prayer.

“A lot of people have to reroute, and it takes many people who come from place like Barton and Blackbird Leys a lot longer to get there now.”

The county council has said that the LTNs do not stop any access to any given address, including the place of worship at Manzil Way, but individuals may need to use a new route.

A spokesperson added: “We acknowledge that some people will still need to use a vehicle.

“We encourage residents to look at adapting how they travel during the trial; for many, this could mean making a faster and more efficient journey and avoiding traffic by walking or cycling to their destination.”

Residents are encouraged to submit their views on the Cowley LTN scheme by visiting consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk.

A decision will be made next week as to whether the East Oxford LTN trial will go ahead.