1st November 2022
Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden (Image: AMA UK)
The monumental site of worship for Ahmadi Muslims, and the largest mosque in Western Europe, Baitul Futuh Mosque, is seeing an approaching end to its reconstruction subsequent to a fire back in 2015.
On the 26th of September 2015, the largest mosque in Western Europe, The Baitul Futuh Mosque Complex, situated in Morden, experienced a tragic fire which struck through the expansive building, particularly the ground floor and the administration block, which were the most heavily affected sections of the mosque.
The fire continued to rage for more than an entire day, but miraculously was able to be brought under control 30 hours later, with there fortunately being no fatalities reported.
At the time, it was significantly alarming to many local residents. Julian Roman, from Morden, at the time said, “I saw it start from my window. There was a tiny bit of smoke, some alarms.”
The site was inaugurated in 2003 with a cost of £15 million, and is a major landmark of “religious significance”, as described by former Merton Council Leader Stephen Alambritis. It also holds the location where the MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya) station is situated, which is a Sky programme broadcasted in the UK 24/7. Additionally, for its distinctive architecture, design and purpose, it was labelled as one of the “Best 50 Modern Religious Buildings” by The Independent, and has also been a place where many COVID vaccinations took place, and hosts a radio station called “Voice of Islam” (VOI) which broadcasts 24/7 on DAB Radio.
As a result of the severe damage the fire caused, the repair work commenced as swiftly as possible in 2017 in hopes for complete rejuvenation of the central building for the local community and the redevelopment of the mosque to bring even better experiences than before.
Irfan Ahmad Qureshi, who has one of the leading roles on the management team overseeing the construction project, described the structure – “the front, which is the facade, is made from moca cream limestone from a quarry called LSI Stone in Portugal. The stonemasons place it on steel brackets which are fixed to the main structure.”
The iconic, new structure now covers over 5,950 square metres, is appreciably larger than before, and has two newly developed halls and many floors, as well as a fascinating front design consisting of a beautiful Islamic mosaic, and brand new pathways on the sides of the mosque.
World famous architects such as Fanos Panayides from John McAslan & Partners – an award-winning architecture firm, were responsible for the “major redevelopment”, as well as architects who have designed award-winning projects such as the roof of the Kings Cross Station and the Belfast Transport Hub.
So it’s clear to see where the inspiration is coming from.
On Saturday the 29th October, Mr Qureshi stated in a meeting with the local Ahmadiyya community that the reconstruction work of the mosque is “hopefully expected to be completed within the coming few months”, “most likely around Winter 2022 or into early 2023.”
The fifth Caliph of Islam Ahmadiyya at the time of the tragedy, stated in one of his weekly Sermons, that “an even better” and “more beautiful building” will be built in the future, and urged all of his followers to donate money to raise funds towards the blessed reconstruction.
More than 7 years later, this became true with its stunning architectural designs and substantial size proving to be a key feature in its prominence, shedding new light on Morden Town Centre for years to come.