Two Cabinet ministers followed the Cabinet meeting with a visit to a mosque under construction in Bradford.
A total of £4 million has been spent so far on creating the 8,000-capacity Suffa Tul Islam Central Mosque in Horton Park Avenue, Little Horton. A further £1.5 million will complete the Mughal-style mosque, which is expected to be completed in 12 months.
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Cabinet minister and Conservative Party chairman, spoke to community leaders and chairman of the mosque Mohammed Riaz yesterday.
Mr Hague described the building as “incredibly impressive” and said he was keen to be invited back when it was open to the community.
He was told the funding had come from the local community and construction had taken five years so far. The stone, which is from the same quarry as that used to build the Taj Mahal in India, has been imported – some of it hand-carved. And the intricate process of laying marble inside the many-roomed mosque is now beginning. When it opens, the mosque will be used for prayer, lessons and community functions.
Mr Hague asked Chinese contractors on site if they could supply the marble at a good price, joking that he would “try to negotiate a good deal”.
Baroness Warsi added: “This is not just a mosque, but a community facility from the cradle to the grave. Here’s a community saying don’t give us funds, we are showing you what we can do ourselves.”