Erdogan opens Europe's first 'eco-mosque' in Cambridge

Turkish government and singer Yusuf Islam among donors who developed mosque that relies on green energy.

    Erdogan opened the mosque in Cambridge alongside British Muslim singer Yusuf Islam [File: Yasin Bulbul/Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP]
    Erdogan opened the mosque in Cambridge alongside British Muslim singer Yusuf Islam [File: Yasin Bulbul/Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP]

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially opened the Cambridge Central Mosque in the east of England.

    Described as Europe's first eco-mosque, the facility is equipped with solar panels, relies on green energy and aims for a zero-carbon footprint.

    It first opened to the public in April.

    "I think this place of worship will be the best answer to the rising anti-Islamism," Erdogan said, according to Anadolu Agency.

    "I believe this mosque, which has become the symbol of solidarity against discrimination from the first moment, will, God willing, continue to be the center of unity, conversation and peace in the future," he added.

    British Muslim singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, is among the patrons of the mosque and arrived for the inuaguration ceremony earlier on Thursday.

    Several other donors contributed to the mosque's development, including the Turkish government and Qatar National Fund.

    According to the mosque's website, its design was inspired by both Islamic and English religious architectural traditions.

    "We sought to develop the idea of a British mosque for the 21st century," the website says. "With everything from solar panels and grey water harvesting to state-of-the-art heating and cooling technology, it is a pioneer in 'green deen (faith)', reminding us of our connection to nature."

    Erdogan's supporters gathered at the site, as well as protesters who rallied against the Turkish leader's visit and what they said was the mosque's apparent endorsement of Ankara's policies.

    Erdogan arrived in the UK days earlier to attend a two-day NATO summit near London. The meeting saw several NATO leaders clash with one another, with some disagreeing over Turkey's recent operation in Syria.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies