Hundreds flock to Crawley £1m mega-mosque opening
A MOSQUE has officially opened after the completion of a five-year extension project, costing more than £1 million.
The Broadfield Mosque, in Broadwood Rise, held its opening ceremony last Saturday (July 7).
The work, which included building new wings onto the existing masjid to create five classrooms, a library, two halls, the Imam's flat and a new kitchen, cost £1.2 million.
The funds were raised through private donations.
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Imam Mohammad Huzaisa Bora said: "We had a fantastic turnout. About 750 people visited the mosque throughout the day.
"The extension has allowed us to create a whole new floor for people to use. The first floor used to only have a gallery and office area but it is now much larger in size."
Prior to the construction work, the mosque did not have enough space for worshippers to pray, with people forced to stand outside, exposed to the elements.
The building has been extended to about four times its original size and now has two large prayer halls, with separate facilities for women, and it can accommodate about 1,800 people.
Imam Bora said a desire to provide new educational facilities was another major reason for the work.
Up to 350 children can now study in fully-fitted classrooms, whereas before the extension they were having to be taught in makeshift classrooms in corridors.
Imam Bora added: "Education is particularly important for our community.
"We now have 210 children studying at the mosque which was too many for the space we had available before."
The Muslim community has also revealed plans to build a new nursery and primary school on land next to the mosque.
The formal opening ceremony began with speeches in Urdu and Arabic but the event was open to people of all faiths.
Broadfield councillor Brian Quinn, who attended the opening, said: "It was a wonderful day and the mosque looks brilliant with its huge hall.
"It is incredibly impressive to look at."
The mosque is hoping the expansion project will help it to improve on its success after being named the second best in the country in a television contest in 2008.
It landed the runner-up spot in an Islam Channel competition entitled Britain's Model Mosque 2008.
Hundreds of Muslim places of worship across the country were shown on the weekly show.
The mosques were then the subject of a public vote and then a final scrutiny by a panel of judges.
Each mosque was judged on its sense of community, ability to provide strong religious practice, youth policy and integration with non-Muslims.