Three mosques and an Ahmadi temple accorded increased heritage protection

London Central Mosque

Three British mosques and an Ahmadi temple have been accorded increased heritage protection by the government.

The 1970s-built London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park has been given Grade II* listed status.

It was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, completed in 1978, and has a prominent golden dome. The main hall can accommodate over 5,000 worshippers.

The mosque is joined to the Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) which was officially opened by King George VI in 1944. The land was donated by George VI to the Muslim community of Britain in return for the donation of land in Cairo by King Farouk on which to build an Anglican cathedral.

Woking Mosque

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also upgraded the protection of two pre-20th-century buildings.

Britain’s first purpose-built mosque – the 1889 Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, was upgraded to Grade I status.

The mosque, built by Dr Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, was the first to be built in the UK and Northern Europe.

Since 1995, it has been renovated the temple and restored its original elegance.

And the home of Britain’s first functioning mosque, the Georgian 8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool, was upgraded to Grade II*.

In December 1889 the building became the first fully-functioning mosque in England with established community worship. The mosque was founded by a Victorian English convert to Islam, Abdullah Quilliam.

For almost one hundred years the building was used as Liverpool Records of Marriages and Births. The staff who worked there used to refer to it as “The Little Mosque” totally unaware that it was the first mosque in England and its historical value.

8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool

About 1,500 mosques are thought to currently exist in Britain, with fewer than 20 per cent of them purpose-built.

Heritage minister Michael Ellis said: “Our historic buildings tell the story of Britain’s past and the people, places and events that shaped them. By listing these beautiful mosques, we are not only preserving important places of worship, but also celebrating the rich heritage of Muslim communities in England.”

The government also awarded Grade II listing to the 1920s “Fazl Mosque” in Southfields, south-west London, which is not recognised as a mosque by the vast majority of Muslims because it is adminstered by the Ahmadiyya sect which is considered to be outside of the fold of Islam.

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