Cambridge Mosque, “Europe’s first eco-mosque” has opened after much anticipation. Sustainability and eco-friendliness have been prioritised in the building of the mosque and its mission statement, which quotes Dr Tim Winter, chairman of the Cambridge Mosque Trust, as stating that “‘Islamic civilization has been based on the rejection of waste as an under-estimation of God’s blessing and so in the construction of the new mosque here in Cambridge, we were very much in the forefront of the local environmental movement’. As a result, the mosque has been designed in a way that ensures energy efficiency and a low carbon footprint, including renewable energy harvesting heat pumps instead of gas boilers, no artificial lighting necessary during daylight hours, and the capacity for rainwater to be harvested to be used to flush W.C.s and for irrigation for the grounds.
The Mosque project has also said that it is attempting to be the UK’s “leading female-inclusive mosque”, explaining that women are able to choose their own seclusion levels, with screens of different heights being available, and a mother-and-child room which allows women with children to see and join the prayers, as the space is only separated by glass doors. In an indication of progress beyond that of mosque spaces, there are baby changing facilities installed in both the male and female ablution areas, which calls to mind a campaign in the United States and the United Kingdom demanding baby changing facilities to be available in all bathrooms. The campaign has resulted in the the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act in the US (which requires changing facilities in all publicly accessible, federal building and which must be available in both male and female bathrooms), but such measures are yet to be taken in the UK.
The public gardens will be open to the public as a “donation to Cambridge” says Dr Winter, who also describes it as the “most architecturally distinguished mosque in the UK”, while the Cambridge Independent suggests that the mosque is “set to become an iconic standard for the rest of the country”.