Meraz Aziz said it was needed because the Muslim community was growing.Read more
Half-year profits at the Co-operative Group fell to £25m from £44m a year earlier but Steve Murrells, chief executive,said the mutual had "enjoyed another good six months".
Some £29m was returned to members, the Manchester-based group said.
It said it had recorded 22 consecutive quarters of growth in like-for-like sales - which strip out store changes - in food with total sales up by 3% and like-for-like sales up by 1.7% in the first half.
In its funeral business revenue fell by 6% because of an unexpected 10% fall in the death rate and a "conscious decision to hold prices in a changing and competitive market".