College visit to new Cambridge Mosque
Staff and Fellows of St Edmund’s including the Master, Senior Tutor, and Bursar visited the new Cambridge Central Mosque on Tuesday 18 June for a tour given by the lead Imam Sejad Mekić, who holds a PhD in Divinity from Cambridge.
The project was established in 2008 by Dr Timothy Winter, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University, and is the result of a proposal by the Muslim Academic Trust. The £23m necessary for the construction of the Mosque was raised over four years with the generous support of donors from across the globe, including some members of St Edmund’s. The final pieces yet to be put in place are the ornamental mihrab and the central minbar (pulpit), for which the Mosque is still fundraising.
The Mosque is entirely eco-friendly and was created using innovative timber architecture, making it the first of its kind in Europe. Every detail of the mosque was thought out and purposefully designed to become a true architectural masterpiece. The garden being placed at the front of the Mosque with yew hedging was designed in part to pay tribute to church design in Europe, and also to create a green welcoming space from the hustle and bustle of Mill Road. The garden’s centrepiece is a beautiful fountain made from Spanish stone, representing the four rivers of Jannah or Paradise according to the Qu’ran. All this is to say nothing of the inside of the mosque, which is a real treat. However, the best way to experience that is to go and see for yourself!
A central Mosque able to cater for Cambridge’s growing Muslim community, has been a pressing need for the city for a long time. In addition to the main worship space which is suited for all branches of Islam, it includes dedicated areas for teaching, conferences, meeting rooms, and even a café. The focus of the project was to create a welcoming space suited to bridge the local Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
The sentiment is unanimous: the new mosque provides a unique environment of serenity and peace, in spite of its location right on one of Cambridge’s busiest roads. The sound of the flowing water and chirping birds from the outside makes it inside to the main atrium thanks to its design, contributing to the Mosque’s peaceful atmosphere.