Regent’s Park Mosque, also referred to as the London Central Mosque, and was founded in 1944. The Regent Park Mosque has been a distinctive characteristic of London’s skyline ever since its inception. Being the most beautiful example of mosques in London, the Regent Park Mosque is the starting point in identifying the numerous mosques spread throughout London, and several hundred are located within Britain’s territory. In November 1944, His Majesty King George VI officially opened the Regent Park Mosque. The Muslim community in the United Kingdom was formally presented with the Masjid as a gift from Britain’s government. This was intended to allow Muslims in London to establish a center for Islamic culture and build a mosque to provide an opportunity to carry out their Islamic faith-related affairs (Hodges, 2009, p. 57).
This gift was much accepted by a mosque committee, which comprised distinguished Islamic diplomats and Islamic residents living in the United Kingdom. This gift was given to the Muslim community with the purpose of paying tribute to thousands of Indian Islamic soldiers who had passed on in combat for the British Empire. The British Empire, at this time, had more Muslims than Christians. In 1947, the mosque committee as a trust corporation named London Central Mosque Trust Limited registered the London Central Mosque. To date, the board members of the trust committee comprise Muslim countries’ diplomatic representatives whom the Court of St. James’s has accredited. The mosque committee’s key goals included first, the building of a mosque on the site given and, second, the establishment of a cultural and religious center for Muslims living in the United Kingdom at the time, and future generations. The mosque also comprises a prayer hall (for men and women), an administrative block, a library with a book capacity exceeding twenty thousand books, and residential quarters.
The construction of the mosque started in 1974 and was completed in 1977 after a long period of several authorities’ application and prostrating. In 1994, an administrative and education center was incorporated into the building. Frederick Gibberd, an English architect, did the mosque design. The cost of building the mosque was partly covered by Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal’s contribution of €2 million. In 1977, the mosque was finally completed with a total cost of € 6.5 million.
According to Hodges (2009), Regent’s Park Mosque in the United Kingdom’s center for Islamic focus for Muslims and Islam. Apart from the mosque being a place where Muslims offer daily prayers, it also provides several services that include providing education to children in central London and its environs. It provides conference facilities and serves as a convention center. The center also offers counseling and wedding halls for hire as well as fairs, among other services. Regent’s Park Mosque symbolizes Islam and Muslims in London and the United Kingdom as a whole. The mosque is distinct from other buildings in London due to its golden dome shape and the minaret (Hodges, 2009, p. 62).
The prayer hall is designed in such a way that it is facing Mecca. It also has a distinguishing red carpet feature with a vast mosaic decorated dome and a large chandelier located at the center. In one prayer session, the mosque can accommodate up to 1400 worshippers. The mosque can be extended to accommodate additional 4,000 worshippers during festivals and even more when the worshippers overcrowd in the central courtyard (Hodges, 2009, p. 79). During the two major Islamic festivals, the London Central Mosque attracts up to fifty thousand Muslim tourists. During these periods, the mosque is overflown with Islamic worshippers from within London and outside. London’s central mosque is an active place that receives visitors and worshippers daily (Hodges, 2009, p. 79).
The mosque itself is an attractive center with its minaret and golden dome serving as a feature that distinguishes its architecture from the rest of London’s buildings. In the mosque, visitors are provided with a small book containing teachings about the Islamic truth, prophecy, and science, as recorded in the Holy Quran. The mosque is usually opened until Isha. The mosque has a parking space that allows worshippers to park their vehicles when they visit the mosque for prayers or Islamic festivals.
Finally, having been established in 1944, the London Central Mosque has served as a center for Islamic culture and a prayer center for Muslims in London and its environs. The mosque located in the Christian-dominated city of London provides an avenue for Muslim immigrants and residents to exercise and practice their faith by the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Quran. The mosque offers an opportunity for Muslims to conduct both the daily prayers and the Friday prayers and functions as a center for celebrating Islamic festivals such as Eid.
- Hodges, M., 2009. The Islamic cultural centre and London Central Mosque. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity.