Ahmadiyya Muslims from across the country gathered in Nottingham for the opening of a new mosque in Sneinton.
More than 400 people were in attendance as The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Nottingham formally opened its new place of worship, the Baitul Hafeez Mosque, on Sneinton Dale.The building, which was previously a church centre, was decorated with multi-coloured and Union Jack bunting to welcome worshippers, who were addressed and lead in prayer by the fifth caliph and worldwide leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Khalifa Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.The Nottingham group has been in the area since the late 1960s, but had previously met at a local community centre, but were able to buy their new permanent home after more than 15 years of fundraising through the community both locally and across the UK.
Dr Irfan Malik, vice president of the Nottingham chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslims, told the Post at the opening on Sunday, May 13: “We’re very fortunate to have this place. We’re very fortunate to purchase this beautiful building.”There are around 200 Ahmadiyya Muslims in Nottingham and this will be a centre for all of them as well as a place for our Friday main prayers, and the Friday sermons as well.”
Dr Malik, who practices at Sherwood Health Centre, said that the new mosque will be a base for the group to continue their work within the community.He said: “We’re very integrated in the community. We do a lot of faith work, a lot of charity work, and we would like to progress with that and use this as a base to progress with that.””We just want to do good for our local community. We’re very loyal to Britain and we want to make a difference to our local communities that we live in.”
Khalifa Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered a talk to those who gathered to see the mosque opening, urging Muslims to do more to dismiss the myths regarding the religion, while also encouraging those who have moved to the UK from other countries to integrate within the community and learn the local language.Muslims from across the country, including many from Birmingham and London, gathered to be addressed by the caliph, who spoke at length within the mosque before leading them in prayer.
So many attended the Sunday event to see the building officially opened that some had to pray outside.Dr Malik said: “We’re very fortunate that the head of our worldwide community is here today to lead us in prayer and address us.”Acting president, Rubina Nasser, told the Post that the female Muslims who gathered at the event are “extremely happy” with the new building, adding that the Sneinton community has been very welcoming to the group.She said: “The community has been made to feel very welcome and we’ve already been in contact with the local schools to help out there. The reaction has been very good.”
As is traditional within the Islamic faith, men and women are separated at the mosque and pray separately, meaning there are assigned areas for females and assigned areas for males within the building.Toban Ephram, regional outreach delegate for The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Nottingham, said that after16 years meeting in the local community centre that it’s “an honour” to have moved into the new building.”The main prophecy is to bring the communities together. This can be used as a beacon for the community to use. There’s a lot of need now for community cohesion and integration.”
The Ahmadiyya community takes its name from its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who was born in 1835.