INTRODUCTION Europe's largest and most important Islamic Cultural Centre, currently under construction in Britain, is expected to be substantially completed by September.
INTRODUCTION Europe's largest and most important Islamic Cultural Centre, currently under construction in Britain, is expected to be substantially completed by September. A new mosque is one of the major features of the big complex London's Regents Park area. Also included are a library, lecture halls, conference rooms and a huge underground car park. The project will cost about four and a half million pounds sterling (about 7.7 million U.S. dollars). Money for it has come from Moslem nations all over the world, although the main contribution is from the oil-rich Arab countries.
SYNOPSIS: Worshippers have been using a temporary mosque nearby for their prayers while the new building goes up. Work started just over two years ago. The new complex will be a centre for Europe's seven million Moslems as well as for Britain's one million-strong Moslem community. Islam is now Britain's second largest religion, and while the majority there are from Pakistan, there are an increasing number of Arab visitors, particularly in London.
The distinctive gold dome and minaret of the new mosque make an exotic contribution to the central London skyline. There is room for a total congregation of 5,000, and the centre also includes a welfare section and space for a bookshop and printing press.
Most of the outer structure of the complex is now complete but there is still a lot of work to be done. The builders are waiting for a consignment of tiles from the Turkish government, and verses of the Koran still have to be written on parts of the mosque. It is estimated that the final decorations will not be completed for another one or two years. Meanwhile preparations for opening go ahead, and a meeting will be held in the next few weeks to decide the inauguration date.