London mosque hosts grand reopening after 2015 fire damage

A mosque in south London is hosting a grand reopening after a fire in 2015 badly damaged its administration building. Hundreds of people are expected to visit Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden for an inauguration of the new complex. It is reopening with an ornate, geometric frontage following the £20m improvement project. The mosque is said to be the largest in western Europe, with space for 10,500 worshippers, according to its website. The fire on 26 September 2015 left about 50% of the administration building’s ground floor damaged as well as part of the first floor and a section of the roof.

Only a handful of worshippers were inside the mosque when the blaze started, with 70 firefighters called out to the scene. London Fire Brigade station manager Philip Morton said at the time the mosque itself had “escaped completely unscathed”. Its administration building has been rebuilt as a five-storey complex with two large multipurpose halls, offices and guest rooms. The 5.2-acre (2.1-hectare) mosque serves the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who raised the funds for the rebuilding project. Later this evening, the religious centre is set to host the 19th annual National Peace Symposium. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the worldwide head and Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is set to inaugurate the new complex and deliver a keynote address. Parliamentarians, academics and faith representatives are expected to attend.