A NEW £8.6million mosque and community centre has officially opened its doors.

Around 1,700 worshippers from across East Lancashire attended The Raza Jamia Masjid Mosque, which is located between Grimshaw Street and Lower Antley Street, for Friday Prayers and its official opening.

The religious building, which has been funded by donations from residents and businesses, has been hailed a ‘dream come true’ for members and the elders of Hyndburn.

It is also hoped the community centre, which is open to everyone regardless of faith, will help with community cohesion.

The opening ceremony, which took place on Friday and was attended by politicians, business leaders, headteachers from Accrington schools and religious leaders, marked the completion of a three-year project at the 1.3-acre site.

The short ceremony was hosted by project manager and the former owner of Blackburn-based Accrol Papers Javid Hussain.

The old mosque on Grimshaw Street, Accrington, will be retained for evening classes.

The new mosque includes three prayer halls and a library. The community centre features an Islamic funeral room, community facilities and dining areas.

There is also a 71-bay carpark, including six disabled spaces, at the three-storey facility.

Lancashire County Councillor Munsif Dad, who is a member of the mosque, said: “The Muslim community came into Accrington in the 1950s. When they came they acquired a two-up, two-down house, where prayers and various religious activities took place. It was a dream for many elders to have a purpose-built mosque in Accrington. That dream has come to fruition now.

“The community would like to thank everyone who attended the opening ceremony. It is up to us to make use of the building now and to try and bridge the gap in terms of community cohesion.”

Cllr Noordad Aziz, who represents the Netherton ward on Hyndburn Council, said: “This is a wonderful community facility that hopefully the whole community of Hyndburn will benefit from. It is probably the best mosque I have been to in terms of its facilities.”