A £2 million purpose-built mosque, the first of its kind in Lincoln, has been officially opened.
The Islamic Association of Lincoln welcomed the Muslim community to the building on the former dairy factory site on the corner of Dixon Street and Boultham Park Road on Friday, April 13.
Private prayers marked the completion of the project, which has been a long-fought-for ambition of the city’s Muslim community.
Since the beginning of the project, the association has worked to attract the funds needed for the project and the money has come entirely from individual donations in Lincoln and the surrounding areas.
The new building has prayer facilities for men and women, teaching spaces for children, a library and a funeral preparation room.
It also has dedicated parking for 68 cars.
The association has been worshipping in temporary facilities at the Grandstand off Carholme Road for around 15 years as well as at a facility off Orchard Street (the former Healthy Hub).
Chairman and Trustee of the Islamic Association of Lincoln Tanweer Ahmed said: “The Islamic Association of Lincoln has gone through a long and difficult time of obtaining planning approval and identifying an appropriate location.
“This project, amounting to nearly £2 million, was fully funded through individual donations. The Association has not received any grants from the government or any other organisation. I am hugely grateful to the Muslim community for their generous donations; without their support, this would not have been possible.
“A large number of local Muslim families have donated tens of thousands of pounds each. I am also very grateful to the local residents, the people of Lincoln, the council, the police, faith leaders and many other organisations who have played an important role in moving this project forward.”
He added that the association had delayed taking part in the national #VisitMyMosque initiative due to the ongoing construction but will be hosting a mosque open day on Sunday, May 6, from 11am to 4pm.
All members of the local community are invited to attend, with a mission to engage and provide insight into the life of the mosque.
A long journey
Previous attempts for a mosque to be built in the city have been controversial and the Islamic Association had a long battle to complete the building.
Initially, the association bought and gained permission to convert the former Grade II listed St Matthews Church off Boultham Park Road, which had been closed for more than a decade, but it was burned down in August 2008.
The cause and possible culprits were never established.
A subsequent plan for a new building on the site was rejected by the City of Lincoln Council due to parking issues.
Plans for the new mosque were given the go-ahead by the City of Lincoln Council in November 2012.
In 2014, around 100 people supported the East Anglian Patriots’ (EAP) anti-mosque protest in Lincoln, which also saw a counter demonstration from the Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism (LARF) group.
Just four days earlier, the site had suffered a break-in and small fire.
English Defence League members also made their objections to the mosque project known when they descended on the city in protest in July 2015. They were also met with an anti-racism and fascism counter protest.
Work officially got underway on the site in April 2015.