Comment on: A history of mosques in Britain
A much needed study that will help position the architecture of British Muslims firmly part of British architectural history. As a typology, the mosque is much more than its architecture. It is a sacred space laden with meaning, memory, and a sense of belonging to a local community as well as the umma, the wider global community. Metaphorically, the mosque transcends space. Yet, the way mosques had been designed during the heyday of Muslim expansion from Arabia in the 8th-16th century, showed a growing ambition and pride to create a visible reminder of Islam. This confidence exemplified in the strength and creative genius of detailing, ornamentation, form, and use of indigenous materials and building traditions. The UK picture lacks the confidence of the predecessors of historic mosque building. Is it politics and Islamophobia, is it lack of leadership and architectural vision, or is it a lack of creativity? For whatever reason, the authentic, indigenous British mosque has yet to blend together its unique context with its specific identity in a new vernacular that is not associated with pastiche or imitated styles. True inspiration should be sought from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture where the best examples of the architectural dialogue between the local and universal nature of Islam is recognised.