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CurrentEurope

Turkish President Erdogan visits Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge on opening day

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CurrentEurope

Turkish President Erdogan visits Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge on opening day

The opening ceremony for the mosque was attended by Turkish President Erdogan and world-famous musician and Muslim revert, Yusuf Islam (formally known as Cat Stevens).

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The opening ceremony for the mosque was attended by Turkish President Erdogan and world-famous musician and Muslim revert, Yusuf Islam (formally known as Cat Stevens).

The 5th of December marked the official grand opening of Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge, England. The Cambridge Central Mosque is strongly reliant on green energy, aiming towards a zero-carbon footprint. Built entirely from donations, this mosque is a unique and inspiring example of how important it remains for the Muslim community to take the current climate change crisis seriously.

The opening ceremony for the mosque was attended by Turkish President Erdogan and world-famous musician and Muslim revert, Yusuf Islam (formally known as Cat Stevens). Yusuf Islam, a founding patron of the mosque, has helped promote and normalize the need for Muslims of all ages to actively be involved in environmentalism, climate change activism, and helping reduce our carbon footprint.

The mosque itself was carefully built and designed to be completely eco-friendly. The ventilation in the building is supplied from the roof lights and grilles, with air source heat pumps and airtight insulation that helps the natural flow and regulation of air quality. The solar panels on the roof of the mosque provides up to 20% of the building’s energy use, with rainwater collected and harvested to be re-purposed for the flushing of toilets and the watering of the gardens.

Tall tree-like columns in the main prayer hall feature timber branches that support the roof of the mosque, which enables the building to stand properly without additional support from unsustainable materials. The trees are made of cross-laminated spruce, which were sourced from sustainably-managed forests in Central Europe. Energy-efficient lighting with dimmable sensors are also installed in the building, with swift boxes on the outside of the mosque walls to provided a much-needed habitat for the local bird population.

The taps in the ablution areas where worshippers can wash and prepare for prayer are also implemented with water-saving features via sensor controls, in an effort to help aim for a zero-carbon footprint. Designed by British architects, financed by Turkish stakeholders, constructed by Irish contractors, using Swiss-made timber components and Spanish marble, this mosque stands as a testament to the international effort used and needed for important mosques like this that aim to both provide a place of worship while also protecting the environment.

The Trustees of the Cambridge Central Mosque stated:

The Cambridge Muslim community, which brings together local people from over seventy different ethnic groups, is delighted that its longstanding dream to create an ecologically-responsible mosque has today become a reality. We are grateful to all our sponsors, to local residents, and to all who have shown such patience over the last ten years. We are sure that its symbolism of harmony between East and West will preside over a hub for peace, prayer, and mutual understanding.”

The Cambridge Central Mosque is non-denominational, and remains an inclusive and open place of worship for all Muslims and even non-Muslims, offering a quiet place for peaceful and tranquil contemplation and reflection. Recognized as Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque, it also plans to be one of the leading women-friendly mosques as well. Future plans include having a soundproof mother and child section, adequate space for female worshippers on both the main floor as well as the mezzanine floor, and a complementary therapy room.

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