Vicar the Rev. Dave Hanson and members of the congregation of St Stepen’s church, Broadgate were given a tour of the £1.5m Masjid--e-Saliheen mosque on Grafton Street in the city.
The mosque opened in March and Rev. Hanson said: “We were delighted to receive an invitation to go to the mosque. We have a long standing friendship between the church and the mosque. They’ve done a fantastic job. It’s light and airy. It was a delight to go and have a look round.”
He continued: “At Christmas and other times we often get together and share food. A group of women from the mosque and church get together and talk about their faith and hear each other’s stories.”
The Broadgate district is unique in the city said Rev Hanson in that in addition to the mosque: “ We have one church, two Hindu temples, a Sikh Gurdwara, and a Buddhist retreat centre. It’s already very diverse and there are good relationships between the different faith groups.”
The new mosque, designed by local company Aamir Design, is sited on the corner of Grafton Street and Fishergate Hill. It was built to replace a smaller mosque on Fishergate Hill which had been a centre of worship for local Muslims for 40 years.
Mosque spokesman Zulf Lokhat, a volunteer on the mosque’s management team, said: “If you talk about religions this area is really the religious heart of Preston. We invited our sisters and brothers from the local church to visit the mosque in support of partnership and harmony. Rev Dave and his congregation have been very supportive and mindful of this project ...We have far more in common than divides us.”
The mosque, which was funded entirely by voluntary donations, is run under the umbrella of registered charity Preston Muslim Cultural Centre.
In the future it is planned that visitors of other faiths and school pupils will be welcomed on visits to learn more about the Muslim faith. The team also hope to open a community centre on the site open to all in the local community for a range of events for young and old.
St Stephen’s is on Bird Street, Broadgate.