A large fire broke out at an Ahmadi temple in south London earlier today.
The “Baitul Futuh Mosque” in London Road in Morden, which describes itself as the “largest mosque in western Europe”, was being tackled by 70 firefighters.
London Fire Brigade said about 50% of the building’s ground floor was alight and the first floor was also on fire.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said a man was taken to hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.
The brigade was called at just after 12pm this afternoon to the temple, which also has a community centre attached.
Station Manager Philip Morton, who is at the scene, said: “This is a large fire and our crews are working hard to minimise fire spread to other parts of the mosque.
“We are working closely with the local community to ensure our damage control operations take full regard of the religious significance of the building’s contents.”
The “Baitul Futuh Mosque” serves the Ahmadiyya community and was built on the site of the old Express Dairies in 1999.
Mr Alambritis said the mosque is manned by security staff and suggested the fire could have been caused by cooking preparations rather than an arson attack.
Lord Ahmad, a high-profile member of the Ahmadiyya community and a junior government minister on counter-extremism, tweeted: “This is a beautiful mosque complex which has transcended barriers and been a beacon of peace -thoughts & prayers.”