Hawzah News Agency (Leeds, UK) – "It feels like a dream" were the words of the organization working to build the new Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira mosque in Beeston.
Costing £2.2 million, the new faith center is now complete and will open to the public on Sunday (September 16), following seven years of planning and fundraising by the community in South Leeds.
The mosque replaces the former site at the old Co-op mill building on Hardy Street, which the Kashmir Muslim Welfare Association (KMWA) had acquired over 30 years ago.
KMWA have worked closely with the developers and architects to design the facility, with its stunning interior. Take a first look inside the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira in our gallery:
"Over the years as the community was getting bigger, the space became smaller and smaller", KMWA vice chair Mahbub Nazir told.
"For years and years we have tried to upkeep the building as much as possible.
"Yet for example, just last Friday for congregational prayers 150 people were forced to pray from on the street outside the building", he said.
"This is simply not an appropriate setting and hasn't been for many years.
"We feel really fortunate and blessed to have been able to pull together a team to make this new premises a reality."
KMWA submitted the planning application to Leeds City Council in 2011, acquiring the vacant land on Catherine Grove. In the years since, fundraisers have rallied the community and travelled across the country to raise the money needed to build the new mosque.
"We had to think about the best ways to utilise the space", Mahbub added.
"There are facilities here now, including bereavement areas, which weren't available to the community here in South Leeds.
"We have a state-of-the-art library opening soon, and will be using the former site to improve our offering for the younger community."
'Our inter-faith relationships have been crucial too'
"We work closely with the local churces and the gudwara and have done for a long time.
"Our relationships with local schools is also important and taking this collective responsibility in the community, working with the council, police and other charities.
"The new mosque will be at the heart of these things and everything we do in Leeds."
The grand opening of the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira, to be attended by key representatives from the community, is taking place on Sunday September 16 at 2.30pm until 5.30pm.