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29 October 2014

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Woking Mosque

The Shah Jahan Mosque

Tour: Woking Mosque

Sussex and Surrey boast many fine buildings - and a tour of one of them can be a great way to spend an afternoon. We take a look around a building of great European significance - Woking's Shah Jahan Mosque.

Can you spot a building?

Do you know of a historic building in Surrey or Sussex that has a story to tell? we're on the look out for those that have a tale; and people that are prepared to tell it. So get in touch - or 01273 320421.

Today the Shah Jahan mosque is the cultural and spiritual centre for Muslims across Surrey, but it came about because of the drive and enthusiasm of a Hungarian Jew.

The mosque was built by the Orientalist Dr Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, who as a child had studied at madrassah schools in Istanbul and who memorised large parts of the Quran.

Leitner worked for the British Raj as an interpreter - he could speak eight languages - then became a Professor at King's College London before moving to the University of the Punjab.

The Shah Jahan Mosque

The Shah Jahan Mosque in the 1900s

He came back to England and in 1883 began the Oriental Institute in Woking; building England's first mosque in 1889. 

The mosque fell briefly into disuse between 1900 and 1912 but was revived by the Indian lawyer Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and up until the 1950s was the major Islamic centre in the UK.

Take a tour of the building and learn about its historical and community significance with

last updated: 22/08/07

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