London’s First Mosque – archive

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4 October 1926: After the opening ceremony the Imam called the faithful to prayer from the minarets high over the roofs of suburbia

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Fleet Street, Sunday
There was a strange meeting of East and West at Southfields this afternoon, when the first mosque to be built in London was opened. The mosque, a graceful little building with a dome in concrete, is placed close to the District railway and in the midst of suburban villas. After the ceremony the Imam called the faithful to prayer from the minarets high over the roofs of suburbia. It is built altogether with steel and concrete, and, unlike the Eastern mosques, it has windows, as a concession to our climate. The architect is Mr. J. H. Mawson, of Lancaster, who, with his father, the well-known town planner, was able to study the architecture of mosques during the reconstruction of Salonika. It is in its incongruous surroundings a thing of beauty.

A special interest was aroused in today’s ceremony owing to the uncertainty up to the last moment whether the Emir Feisul, the Viceroy of Mecca – the second son of the King of the Hedjaz, now on a visit here, – would perform the opening ceremony. It had been stated that this was one of the chief objects of the Emir’s visit to England. A day or two ago the newspapers announced that Ibn Saud had telegraphed to his son forbidding him to fulfil the engagement, but this again was denied. The guests, on arriving to-day, found a notice displayed announcing that the Emir had been “prohibited” from opening the mosque, and that his place would be taken by Kahn Bahadur, the Sheik Abdul Qadir, a member of the Indian Delegation to the League of Nations. There was some excitement about this, and everyone was much disappointed not to see the handsome young prince.

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Tayyab MansoorLondon’s First Mosque – archive