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Friday, July 31, 1998 Published at 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK


Edinburgh mosque opens

A mix of Islamic and Scottish architectural styles

A new mosque aimed at helping people understand the Muslim faith has opened in Edinburgh.

The mosque and Islamic centre has taken more than six years to complete at a cost of 3.5m.

Dr Fahad al Meliky of the Edinburgh Mosque and Islamic Centre: Promote understanding
The complex, financed by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, was opened by his son, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd.

The prince told his audience: "The mosque that was a dream of this community has at last been achieved with the contribution of the king who presented it as his gift.

"He hoped that he would help the Muslims to worship God, and they would have a centre of their own.

Cultural diversity

[ image: Mosque opened Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd]
Mosque opened Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd
After the opening ceremony, the prince met Scottish Home Affairs Minister Henry McLeish who praised Scotland's cultural diversity.

Mr McLeish said: "The government is strongly committed to the concepts of community and the inclusion of the rich variety of faith groups, who contribute so much to life in Scotland.

"We feel that one of the best ways for people to feel included in society is for them to develop a strong sense of their own identity.

Dr Geoffrey King, London University: Islamic design, Scottish stone
The building, near Edinburgh University in the Old Town, will be a centre for Scotland's 10,000 Muslims.

In the past they have used cramped flats and even a portable cabin to pray.

The new mosque is based on a mix of Islamic and Scottish architectural styles.

Britain's first Muslim MP, Mohammed Sarwar, MP for Glasgow Govan, said: "I think this is an excellent mosque.

"I am sure it will be a symbol of unity and will build bridges with the indigenous community."

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