Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have celebrated the opening of the Mubarak Mosque in Tilford which will provide an international focus for Muslims.
It was inaugurated on Saturday (June 29) by of the worldwide leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, in the presence of faith, civic and religious leaders.
Around 300 guests were in attendance, including MP Dominic Grieve QC, former attorney general, MP Sir Ed Davey, chair of Tilford Parish Council Debra Lee, and former mayor of Farnham David Attfield.
The mosque site will serve as a residence for the Caliph, who has millions of followers worldwide, and houses an equestrian centre, a sports hall, administrative buildings and 33 residences.
The sports hall features a unique green roof with its own ecological system ensuring foliage all year round and properties have been built with solar panels.
The development is on a site that has been owned by the Ahmadiyya community since 1984 and was previously the location of the Jalsa Salana or annual convention of the community.
The Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, said: “I wish to offer my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to our neighbours and to all the local residents in this area, as well as to the local council members who have shown immense generosity and proved that they are tolerant and open-minded by enabling us to redevelop this complex.”
He reminded the community of the rights of the neighbours and said: “Fulfilling the rights of neighbours means that Muslims must treat their neighbours with grace and compassion and be ever ready to help them in their times of need and grief. It means to respect them and to hold them in the highest regard.”
The Caliph added: “I personally pledge that I will uphold and honour your rights and strive to care for all of you and I will continually urge the members of our community to do the same.”
The Ahmadiyya community also operate the UK’s biggest mosque in Morden, Surrey, as well as London’s first purpose-built mosque in Putney.
MD Shams, a long-standing Tilford councillor and resident of the site, said: “This beautiful mosque is a powerful signal of the progress of the peaceful and true spirit of Islam.
“Faith should bring people together, break down barriers and serve society – these are values that are at the core of our beliefs. Members of the Ahmadiyya community in UK live by the ethos Love for All, Hatred for None, and we are proud and grateful that we have full and free expression of our faith in this country.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has “always shown a commitment to promoting peace across communities”.
She added the community has “opened many doors through dialogue with people of all faith and none”, helping communities from different backgrounds “share their commitment to a society that is stronger for its diversity”.