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Erdoğan opens Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge

27th Dec 2019
Erdoğan opens Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge

(Photo:Mehmet Ali Özcan/Anadolu Agency)

Hamed Chapman

During a visit to Britain to attend a two-day NATO summit, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took time out to officially open Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge.

Inaugurating the new Cambridge Central Mosque, Erdoğan said its building would be the “best response to rising Islamophobia.” It has become “the symbol of solidarity against discrimination from the first-moment (and) will, God willing, continue to be the centre of unity, conversation and peace in the future.”

“Islam is a religion of peace,” he said, whilst condemning those who abuse the religion as an adjective to describe terrorism. Underlining that racism, discrimination, antisemitism and hostility towards Islam have recently increased in Europe, he said far-right movements are mostly targeting Muslims and the Turkish community.

“The last European Parliament elections have once again demonstrated that identity politics is becoming increasingly dominant in Europe,” the Turkish President argued, adding that the media and some politicians have deepened these prejudices with their irresponsible statements.

The road to building the first purpose-built mosque to cater to Cambridge’s diverse community of up to six thousand Muslim inhabitants began back in 2008 when students turned to Professor Timothy Winter, known as Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, the dean of the Cambridge Muslim College, who was instrumental in getting the land.

The design, which includes natural materials, is to boast a zero-carbon footprint using solar power, recycling rain collected from the roof for irrigation and windows fitted on the ceiling of the dome-shaped mosque to take advantage of natural light.

Also in attendance was Yusuf Islam, a founding patron of the mosque that prides itself on sustainability. More than 10,000 people and groups were reported to have donated money for the landmark purchase, with prominent Turkish groups and the Qatar National Fund also among the major donors.

 

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