Cambridge mosque in 'buy a brick' plea

Artist's image of Abu Bakr Jamia Mosque, Cambridge Artist's impression of the Abu Bakr Jamia Mosque, which will be built on Mill Road

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A "buy a brick appeal" has been launched to help raise funds for Cambridge's first purpose-built mosque.

It is estimated around 350,000 bricks are needed for the Abu Bakr Jamia Mosque.

The appeal has been timed for Ramadan, the Muslim month of prayer and fasting. Each brick will cost £1.40.

Dr Tim Winter, head of the mosque's moving team, said: "We've got a target of about £500,000 for the appeal this year."

He added: "Ramadan tends to be the peak season for Muslim charities generally around the world, perhaps because people are not eating and drinking, so they're thinking of higher and spiritual things."

Mill Road mosque

The building has been designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the company behind the London Eye and Kew Gardens' treetop walkway.

It will be on a one-acre site, formerly the Robert Sayles' warehouse, on Mill Road in Cambridge.

Artist's image of interior of new Cambridge mosque The interior will be lit by large roof windows to reduce the need for artifical light

Overall it is expected to cost £15m, of which they have raised a third so far.

The plans include a prayer hall for 1,000 worshippers, an underground car park, a restaurant and a park.

Dr Winter said the look of the building is also important and residents' associations had been consulted.

"Cambridge is not just any old county town," he said.

"It is one of the world's great cultural hubs.

"You can't ignore the fact that on our doorstep we have some of the world's great architectural exhibits.

"So it has to be a structure that's really quite striking, not just the average British mosque, which is a brick cube with an aluminium dome on top."

Those behind the project said local materials would be used where possible, so the bricks for sale are yellow or white Gault bricks traditional to the Cambridge area.

They said it would also be as green as possible. Water from the ablutions unit will be recycled to irrigate the gardens, the roof will be covered in vegetation, and large glass windows in the roof will ensure it can be naturally lit even on grey winter days.

It is hoped the new building will help ease the lack of spaces at the current mosque on Mawson Road, where Muslims worship in shifts or have to pray in the street.

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