Have a question? Look here first for a list of our Frequently Asked Questions.
Why the Cambridge Mosque Project?
As a city dependent on its international reputation in scholarship and technology, Cambridge attracts students, visitors and workers from many countries around the world. It is essential that the city offer cultural and religious facilities to reflect and promote its position as a world city.
Muslims have been gathering to worship in Cambridge for over a hundred years. The present mosque on Mawson Road was opened in 1984 to accommodate around two hundred people. By 2016 it was welcoming more than seven hundred to Friday services. The building has been expanded into the adjacent house on Tenison Road. But it is still too small, and latecomers have to pray on the street, whatever the weather. Such congestion makes the search for a new and more spacious home for the congregation a matter of real urgency. Worshippers and local residents agree that a new, purpose-built mosque is needed.
Why is the mosque not larger?
Some mosques in East Anglia, particularly in Peterborough, are bigger than the proposed Cambridge mosque. Our team have capped the congregational space at 800 male and 200 female worshippers, as it was felt that the site could not accommodate a larger number. The mosque’s Teaching Zone will have room for an audience of 120.
Why Mill Road?
Mill Road is home to many Cambridge people of Muslim background. Some work in the local restaurant business, drive taxis, run shops, or study at Anglia Ruskin. It makes sense to keep the mosque in this neighbourhood.
Who are the Muslims of Cambridge?
The rainbow of faces at Mawson Road includes people whose roots are British, Malaysian, Nigerian, Arab, Turkish, Albanian, Kurdish, Bangladeshi, Venezuelan, American, Chinese, Azerbaijani, Senegalese, Pakistani, Indonesian, Singaporean, South African, Indian, Kenyan, Zanzibari, Chadian, Iranian, Trinidadian, and others. Workwise we are a varied crowd, including Addenbrookes’ consultants, University professors, scientists, hairdressers, kebab van owners, beauticians, former civil servants, and accountants.
In the new structure, as at present, Muslims of all denominations will attend: this will be an open, non-denominational sanctuary where all members of the diverse Muslim family will feel welcome.
Will the new building generate any noise?
No. There will be no minaret, and no call to prayer broadcast outside the building. Muslim services do not use music, and are conducted in an atmosphere of hushed reverence
What about parking?
The current structure at Mawson Road has no associated parking. The new building will incorporate up to 80 parking spaces, and designated space for 140 bicycles.
Will women be welcome in the Mosque?
Following the tradition of the Holy Prophet, women will be welcome in the mosque. To ensure that the Cambridge Mosque sets new standards for gender inclusion in British mosques, a range of facilities and designated worship, teaching and social spaces encourage maximal female access and inclusion. This will be the leading gender-inclusive mosque in the UK.
What about the environment?
The Cambridge Mosque aims to be the UK’s pioneering Green Mosque. Drawing on Cambridge’s reputation as a centre of innovative sustainable technologies the mosque will incorporate heat pumps, photovoltaic cells (donated by a local business), passive ventilation, state of the art insulation, water recycling, and the use of natural materials in much of the construction.
Is it only for Muslims?
The Mawson Road Mosque, despite its limited facilities, welcomes visitors at any time. Its annual Interfaith Dinners unite religious leaders from the city; while visits from schools and community groups are a regular feature of its social life. The Mosque has also arranged tours for students at various institutions associated with Cambridge University, including the Centre for Jewish-Muslim Relations at the Woolf Institute.
The new mosque will continue and build on these bridge-building activities. It will incorporate a cafeteria open to all members of the community, following the highly-successful example of the Dublin Mosque, whose restaurant is a popular meeting place. It will offer a Teaching Zone which local groups can book for their functions. And an important feature will be the Mosque Garden, designed by leading gardening consultant Emma Clarke, which seeks inspiration from classical traditions of Muslim garden design in Spain and India, to provide a haven of peace for all comers. In a part of Cambridge not well supplied with open spaces, this garden is expected to be very popular with local residents.
But what will it look like?
Glad you asked! Take a look at our gallery for the latest renderings. The intention of the Cambridge Mosque Project is to create a high-quality landmark structure which, while blending into its environment, will provide a new and distinctive focus to Romsey, attracting visitors and tourists from a wide area.
The approved plans were made with wide consultation from local residents and have been positively supported by both the congregation and the wider community.
Are there plans for future expansion?
No. The structure for which planning permission will be sought will be the final extent of the mosque. Any growth in the Muslim population of Cambridge should be accommodated in a second mosque in another part of the City.
When will construction start?
We hope to hold a symbolic ceremony in March 2016, to inaugurate some preparatory works on the site, in the expectation that major works will begin by the end of the year.
Can I make a donation? Yes – and tax is deductable! Please visit the donation section of our site for more details.