Al-Manaar Cultural Heritage Centre
The Al-Manaar Cultural Heritage Centre in West London was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in May 2001. It is used by over 5000 people per week. Many come just to pray in the mosque which takes up a quarter of the building, but the centre also has a huge range of cultural, social and educational projects for both the Muslim and non-Muslim community.
The centre's aims are as follows;
- To provide the community in and around North Kensington with a focal point for a range of spiritual, social, cultural, economic, educational and training activities;
- To enable the community to develop a greater self-confidence through a sense of belonging, to affirm its cultural identity and plurality and to renew its zest for self-reliance;
- To help the community to be at one with itself in order to participate pro-actively in enhancing the vibrant, successful, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic community in North Kensington;
- To advance public knowledge and understanding of Islam;
- To reach out and act as a resource for the Muslim communities, voluntary and statutory agencies and the wider community as a whole;
- To work in close partnership with the statutory and voluntary sector, integrating and complimenting the Centre's services with existing provisions.
In light of these aims, the Al-Manaar centre has interesting and numerous projects and fulfills a variety of functions. It holds lectures, workshops, cultural awareness training and activities such as art exhibitions and performances, it is even registered with the authorities to receive casualties in the event of a large civil incident, such as a fire. It accommodates the health services in giving flu jabs, health checks and information sessions and similarly hosts informative drop-ins for people to get legal, social or welfare advice.
Regular fund raising events take place in the mosque, especially during Ramadan and past good causes have included relief for earthquake victims in Kashmir, money for orphans and widows in Palestine and rebuilding of families in Bosnia. The centre also becomes involved in causes closer to home, an example being the provision of food for an Eid celebration for a woman's refuge in London.
Education is a key element of what happens at Al-Manaar and one of its most important and well received projects is the Saturday Homework Club. The club helps children and students from age 8 to 18 get through their exams with the assistance of voluntary teachers who are members of the City Circle, a network of professionals, many top executives, which aims to better the position of Muslims in society. The programme includes one-to-one tuition and coaching and mainstream subjects such as English, Maths, Science and French are taught to A Level standard.
Other projects include weekday Qur'an lessons, IT training, youth mentoring, children's karate training, a weekday study club and marriage services. The centre is also home to a research library and resource centre.
Al Manaar, the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre
244 Acklam Road,
London, W10 5YG