Middlesbrough Herald & Post

Mosque opens doors

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IT has taken 12 years to be built, and cost £2.2m.

And Teesside’s biggest mosque opened its doors to the whole community on Saturday.

Stockton’s Farooq-E-Azam Mosque and Islamic Centre can hold 2,500 people.

And people of all faiths attended Saturday’s open day to take a look inside.

“The whole point of doing this is to get people who are sceptical,” said mosque vice-chair Shakeel Hussain, 39.

“But they leave more open-minded. “If they are closed-minded it’s because they don’t know (about Islam), but even if they arrive closed-minded they are being brave by taking the time and effort to come and learn more.”

The mosque took so long to build, not only due its scale, but also because the funds were raised entirely within the community.

And their generosity didn’t just stop there.

A cheque for £3,000 – raised in just a matter of days – was donated to James Cook University Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

The mosque opened during Ramadan, and among the subjects guests learned about on Saturday was the purpose of fasting. “Not everyone understand­s that it is not just food and water that you give up,” added Shakeel.

“You have to try and refrain from sex, swearing and bad language.

“It is about controllin­g themselves.”

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