Guest blogger Mahboob Nazir of Hardy Street mosque tells us about the origins of the mosque, what goes on there and their plans for a new building on Lodge Lane. Here’s his article:
KMWA (Kashmir Muslim Welfare Association) was formed 1986. The local Muslim residents of Beeston Hill and Holbeck required a centre for worship, celebrating festivals and other community gatherings. The local residents, mainly Kashmiri Muslims, came together to purchase the Leeds Co-operative building on the junction of Hardy Leeds and Lodge Lane. The building, which used to be an old flour mill, was renovated over the years to meet the requirements of the growing community. Although at the time, the building was bought by the Kashmiri Muslims, for the needs of Kashmiri Muslims, the centre has over the years built a positive relationship with the wider community and continues to share commonalities and explore differences with people of all cultures and beliefs.
The staff and volunteers help run a community school (Madrasa) and it has over 400 pupils whom attend every day after school. This community school is probably the largest in the City. The syllabus includes the recitation the Qur’an (Holy Book) in the traditional Arabic language, as well as learning the meaning in English. The teachings of the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) are taught as a way of life. As a Muslim we are expected bring those learning’s to life by implementing and showing of good character and becoming peace loving citizens, and by playing a positive role in the society. We are taught about the Oneness of God and the unity of all Prophets, such Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, Abraham etc (peace be upon them all). In the holy Qur’an we are taught that there have been approximately 124,000 messengers and prophets since the beginning of time, starting with Adam and ending with Muhammad (peace be upon them). Muslims believe that all humans are an offspring of Adam and Eve. Therefore, we are distant cousins, related somewhere down the family tree.
The centre uses such inspirational teachings to share with people of the community, young and old, so we are able to overcome some of the major issues we ALL face in the society; anti-social behaviour, racism, crime, domestic violence, condemning all acts of violence and oppression, and standing firm for equality and fairness.
The centre has many activities that engage the wider community, such as: sports, arts & crafts, coffee mornings etc. We also work closely with agencies and partners, such as Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Dales National Parks, Fairtrade and others, as well as primary and secondary schools to support individuals with social inclusion, education and employment.
Over the years we have been very fortunate to have made great links with other faiths such Christian, Sikh, Jews, Hindu and many others. Numerous interfaith activities and workshops are offered to bring people together and share their commonalities. We have an open door policy and welcome community members to visit and see the positive work for themselves. The centre had over a thousand non-Muslim visitors visiting the Masjid (Muslim place of worship) in 2011.
The hard working management and volunteers are constantly looking for innovative ways of engaging with the society and bringing people together.
The organisation has purchased some land and has plans to build a new Mosque. The Mosque will be in the heart of Beeston Hill, a few streets from the existing site. The new build will have all the up to date facilities and will be a unique and outstanding pride for the residents of Beeston Hill. The existing site will continue to be used for the needs of the community.
If you would like more information or would like to arrange a visit, please contact Mahboob Nazir (Vice Chair) on email: firstname.lastname@example.org