East London Mosque
The East London Mosque (ELM), situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets is one of the largest Masjid in Great Britain. Also it is one of the largest mosques in Europe, accommodating more than 7,000 muslims for congregational prayers. The mosque was one of the first in the Britain to be allowed to use loudspeakers to broadcast the adhan.
The East London Mosque Trust has rich a history spanning over 100 years. It is London’s oldest Mosque in the heart of the East End.
In 1910 some notable Muslim figures decided to build a mosque in London and established the ‘London Mosque Fund’. Initially, a small room was hired for Friday prayers. However, in 1926 the Fund had grown to a sizeable amount and a ‘Deed of Declaration of Trust’ was made.
In 1940 three houses were purchased in Commercial Road, London E1 and converted into a Mosque. It was opened on Friday 1 August 1941; Lt. Col. Sir Hussain Suhrawardy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the London Mosque Fund, welcomed worshippers into the newly established East London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre. The first prayer was led by the then Ambassador for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Shaikh Hafiz Wahab.
Over the years many distinguished personalities were associated with the London Mosque Fund. Among them, the Rt. Hon. Syed Ameer Ali, the first Indian Privy Counsellor, who was the Chairman of London Mosque Fund Executive Committee until his death in 1928. His Royal Highness the Aga Khan served as life President of the Board of Trustees. Both Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, the famous translators of the Qur’an, were trustees of the Fund. There were also a large number of non-Muslims who realised that there was a pressing need for a Muslim place of worship in London and joined the struggle. Lord Lamington (d.1940) became a Vice-Chairman of the London Mosque Fund. The famous historian, Professor T. W. Arnold, also became its Secretary and was later replaced by Sir Ernest Houston, Sir John Woodhead became its Treasurer and the Rt. Hon. Earl Winterton was also a trustee of the Fund
In 1975 the Greater London Council acquired the premises in Commercial Road under a compulsory purchase order. Temporary buildings were provided until the present mosque could be built in Whitechapel Road. In 1982 work on the new Mosque started and by 1985 the new East London Mosque was completed. On Friday 12 July 1985 the late Md. Sulaiman Jetha, Chairman of the Council of Management of the East London Mosque, welcomed worshippers into the newly built mosque.
This large, purpose-built mosque, complete with dome and minarets, soon became a landmark in London’s East End.
At first it seemed generously spacious, but before long it began to overflow on Fridays and during Ramadan and Eid. Moreover, there was hardly room for the growing number of projects based at the mosque. The East London Mosque ran a long and ultimately successful campaign to acquire adjoining land in 1999. HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince Mohamed al-Faisal launched the project to build the London Muslim Centre in a ceremony on 2001. Building work commenced a year later, and the new London Muslim Centre opened in June 2004, adding over 8300m2 of usable space to the adjacent mosque.
In 2009, the phase 2 development of the East London Mosque commenced with the building of the Maryam Centre. It took another four years before the Maryam Centre was open to the public in 2013. The centre has most of its space dedicated to women, who can access the following services: prayer space, fitness centre, girls school, counselling and education support.