South Asian Heritage Month: Cambridge's eco mosque is a jewel in the city's crown

  • Watch a report by ITV's Graham Stothard

To celebrate South Asian Heritage Month, ITV News Anglia has visited Europe's first eco mosque in Cambridge to celebrate the community and the vital contribution it makes in the region.

Like all places of worship, Cambridge's new eco mosque was closed during the lockdowns with only limited opportunity for prayers.

Now, this amazing building on the city's Mill Road is open again for tours.

The mosque is Europe's first eco friendly mosque Credit: ITV Anglia

Kal Karim is one of the tour guides who explained that while the building that features Islamic principles and features in its design it also shows off the community's Britishness as well.

"We also wanted to be responsible environmentally as well, so have Europe's first eco-friendly mosque. So there's lots of technology that reduces our carbon footprint, as well as having aesthetics and the beauty from the traditional design," he said.

The building features many different highlights including a tile from Jerusalem, black cloth from Mecca and ancient Arabic script patterned into the wall.

Shahiba Rahman is a Trustee of the Cambridge Central Mosque Credit: ITV Anglia

Cambridge Mosque Trustee, Shahida Rahman, is Kal Karim's sister. They were both born in the UK but their father moved here in 1957 from what was East Pakistan, and is now Bangladesh.

She remembered being quizzed by locals who understood very little about her culture.

"I think when we were younger and we were growing up and Cambridge there was a lot of curious questions about our background and where we came from," she said,

"There weren't very many Muslims in the schools that we attended so I think people just generally wanted to know about us," Shahida Rahman added.

South Asian Heritage Month is about having that open dialogue and furthering understanding so people can better understand diversity in Britain. The inaugural South Asian Heritage Month took place last year.

Co-founder of the celebration, Jasvir Singh said that religion plays an important part in South Asian identity but that the month is more about the multi-layered identities that exist.

"If you have a look at our calendar of events we have events looking at sports, at arts, at culture, at history, at LGBTQ+ issues, and will cover a broad range of subjects and topics because that's what it means to be South Asian today," Jasvir Singh said.