LONDON - Following years of planning, Cambridge first eco mosque has been finally approved, reflecting an environmentally friendly Islam and allowing thousands of Muslim residents and students to participate in a purpose-built worshipping house.
This is wonderful news for Cambridge, said Tim Winter, Chair of the Muslim Academic Trust, the UK charity promoting the new mosque development, Euro News reported on Monday, September 24.
Leading the project since the site was bought in April 2008, Cambridge Muslim community has been planning to build Europe's first eco mosque.
The new mosque was suggested to minimize carbon emissions as well as maximize the role of faith in environmental protection.
Following years of campaigning, the plans, drawn up by Marks Barfield Architects, have finally received planning permission.
Cambridge is one of Britain's great international cities, welcoming thousands of overseas students and academics every year, many of them of Muslim heritage, Winter said.
It's tragic that there is still no significant purpose-built mosque to accommodate this communityâ¦ Now a solution is in sight.
The mosque will incorporate many green features including a large community garden which will be created by world-leading landscape designer Emma Clark.
The large garden will offer a much needed green lung and oasis for the run-down part of Cambridge, Winter explained.
Heat pumps, water recycling, natural ventilation and lighting and a sedum roof are also included in the mosque plans.
The plan also dedicates areas to support the nesting of local bird species and facilities provided for cyclists.
The mosque will also include a teaching zone for the entire community, a cafe with a garden terrace, an art exhibition space and a performance area.
The new mosque is seen as evidence on an environmentally friendly Islam.
Reflecting Islam's contribution to contemporary debates over sustainability, the mosque will incorporate significant design features which will minimize carbon emission and emphasize the role of faith in promoting responsible management of the earth's resources, the Trust said.
The mosque committee is now working to raise the money needed for the mosque construction.
Donating brick by brick, Muslims have raised 67,832 of the 350,000 bricks needed to construct the mosque, representing 19% of the money needed.
British Muslims are estimated at nearly two million.
In Islamic Shari'ah, there are regulations and guidelines on how we are supposed to treat the natural world.
It is forbidden in Islam to kill animals without necessity. The slaughtering of animals for consumption provides food and clothing, while hunting for sport is considered unnecessary cruelty.
It is also prohibited to cut down trees without just cause. Damage to the natural environment and all living things is a criminal offence and laws do exist for protection, assigning punishments to those who oppose the law.
The punishment of crimes against nature, as well as the duty to protect and conserve Allah's creation, makes Islam very much in tune with the needs of the environment.