It’s 10 years to the day since the opening of the London Muslim Centre (LMC). Alhamdulillah, it’s been a remarkable success story, achieving more than anyone could have imagined.

The build-up to the opening was intense. The last stages of finishing the new building were personally supervised by the contractor, Mohamed Zabadne. Volunteers assisted with cloths and brushes, cleaning every nook and cranny, whilst staff carefully prepared the final programming for the day, laying out the new prayer rugs in the LMC halls.

The opening was scheduled for Friday the 11 June 2004: the Jumuah prayer followed by an opening ceremony. People began arriving early in the day, eager to see the new building, and to listen to our special guest, Shaykh Abdur Rahman as-Sudais, the Imam of Makkah who would deliver the sermon and lead the prayer.

Worshippers poured in, admiring and complimenting the new centre. A brand new sound system covered the whole complex, with large screens in the multipurpose halls for the live video link to the main prayer hall. To our amazement, not only was the Mosque full, but soon the London Muslim Centre was packed from top to bottom too!

As it was a beautiful day, worshippers then started filling the pavements outside. Before long, we saw that the street behind the Mosque and Centre was starting to fill with people in hastily improvised rows, so traffic could no longer get through. The crowds continued to increase, with the rows of worshippers disappearing out of sight. Soon the same happened on the busy Whitechapel Road in front of the Mosque and Centre, and sea of people bringing that part of London to an unexpected standstill.

The Imam of Makkah delivered a short sermon encouraging the community to work with people of all faiths and backgrounds to make society better, praising God and seeking His blessings for this ground-breaking institution.

We’ll never forget the wonderful scene of so many, many people inside and outside following the Imam as he led the prayer, bowing and prostrating together in humility and awe.

Journalists from around the world reported this wonderful opening, whilst the BBC World Service did a live broadcast from a within the London Muslim Centre itself.

The happy crowds, who had come from far and wide, quickly dispersed after the prayer. Then politicians, religious leaders from all faiths, civil servants, and many others arrived for the opening ceremony. They commended the achievement of the Mosque in bringing people together for such a unique enterprise. HRH Prince Charles sent a special video message of congratulation and HM The Queen included the opening of the LMC in her Christmas speech (2004).

The Friday opening was just part of a weekend-long celebration, with special visits and tours, a street fair, and much more. This successful launch heralded the rapid development of projects inside the London Muslim Centre, quickly bringing a whole range of benefits to our community, and to many beyond.

Indeed, despite the challenges that have arisen along the way, these 10 years have repaid the trust and commitment of all those who helped to create the London Muslim Centre; we are forever indebted to them. It’s success has inspired others, underlined the commitment of British Muslims to make our country better for all, and ultimately led to further expansion with the opening last year of the landmark Maryam Centre.

We take this opportunity to thank all our well-wishers, donors and the communities across London, and beyond for helping to make this Mosque and Centre a success.

All good things, all success, all blessings are from God. We are especially grateful to Him for all that He has done for His servants, and we pray that He helps us to achieve even more in the years to come.

Watch a short film showing the history of the East London Mosque Trust