London Central Mosque

London Central MosqueThe London Central Mosque (also known as Regent's Park Mosque for its location), is the principal mosque of London and the spiritual focal point for Muslims throughout the UK. It is also home to the Islamic Cultural Centre, which provides education on Islam to Muslim children and the community at large.

The London Central Mosque was founded during World War II, in recognition of the substantial Muslim population of the British Empire and its support for the Allies during the war. The Islamic Cultural Centre, which would later include the mosque, was officially opened in November 1944 by King George VI. But development of the mosque itself foundered. Various designs were proposed while the Mosque Committee had difficulty acquiring necessary building permits.

Not until 1969 was a design approved (after an international competition) and construction begun. The mosque was designed by English architect Frederick Gibberd, and the expense supported by a donation of 2 million by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The mosque was finally completed in July 1977, at a total cost of 6.5 million.

The London Central Mosque is easily recognizable by its large golden dome and stout 140-foot minaret on the edge of Regent's Park. Aside from these traditional aspects of mosque architecture, the building is quite modern and resembles other buildings from the same era.

As with most worldwide mosques, the London Central Mosque is actually a large mosque complex that also includes a library with over 20,000 books, administrative offices, a conference room, a Muslim bookshop and events hall. A new educational and administrative wing was added in 1994. It holds 1,400 worshippers at prayer times. Up to 50,000 Muslims visit London Central Mosque for the two main Muslim festivals (Eids) of the year, typically worshipping in six groups. Around lunchtime on most Fridays (the main Muslim day of worship), the mosque is full to overflowing with Muslim worshippers from all over London and beyond.

The mosque is open for visitors anytime the mosque is open. Photographs are prohibited without special permission. Women must cover their head (headscarves can be borrowed from the bookshop inside) and legs must be covered over the knee (both men and women).

Guided tours are also given regularly:

To get there from the Americana; turn right when you leave the hotel and walk ujp Park Road. London Central Mosque is located 300 meters from the Americana on the right.