The Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina led dignitaries including Lords, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and the local MP, as the East London Mosque hosted a special dinner to celebrate its centenary.

The main highlight of the 17 June 2011 event (a follow up to centenary celebrations last year at the House of Lords) was a speech from the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mustafa Cerić, who thanked the mosque for its support in the campaign to remember the Srebrenica genocide, calling its work “a miracle” in a “miracle city”. Furthermore, the Mufti reminded everybody to be tolerant and loving towards one another.

Hosted by the East London Mosque Trust chairman, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the evening focused on the mosque’s new development, the Maryam Centre, with secretary of the Trust, Habibur Rahman, praising the community’s support for the project as “tremendous”.

The mosque’s Executive Director, Dilowar Khan, noted: “The vision of our predecessors was to create an institution that bound the communities together with a common goal.”

He also said that it had long-opposed extremism: “And we will continue to condemn those who threaten our harmony and work actively to promote cohesion.”

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, agreed, talking about the “pioneering” nature of the Centre, describing the mosque as a “role model for all others”.

A strong show of support was received in the evening for the Mosque’s latest development – the Maryam Centre – soon to be completed by mid 2012. It will provide much needed prayer space, but also key services and projects that will tend to the needs of Women, including a new girls school.

Guests conveyed their best wishes. Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: “[The ELM and LMC] is a unique and special institution, and I am very fortunate that it is in my constituency. I want to say how pleased I am that the Muslim community, which has had a long presence in this country, has built this institution. It is a credit to Britain and the British Muslim community.”

Lord Nazir Ahmed spoke on media hostility towards the mosque: “The right-wing media attacks us when we do the right thing. Anyone who does a good thing from the Muslim community will be attacked, so I don’t think you’re extremists.”

Reverend Alan Green, Chairman of the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum said that he had been called “Imam Green” by an online anti-Muslim blog, because of his interfaith work with the Mosque and Muslim community in general. “I am very happy to be abused in that way,” he joked.

Baroness Uddin added that she was privileged to have been associated with the mosque for many years, whilst Lord Sheikh, who hosted the launch of the Trust’s centenary last year, said: “I would certainly commend the Mosque and Centre: not only do you provide a place of worship, but you provide a holistic service and more importantly the empowerment for women. Let us all work together to foster good relationships.”

Finally, Neil Jameson, Lead Organiser from Citizens UK, talked about his personal experiences with the ELM, revealing that “we have fought together, we have struggled together and we have learned together. The splendid work you have managed to do here, with your sweat, labour and own precious money is worth much more than the money itself. I stand here in solidarity with over some of the 220 institutions that make up Citizens UK, and we’re with you through the bad times and the good.”

The East London Mosque Trust (ELMT) was established in 1910 on the 9 November at the Ritz Hotel. The ELMT was headed by notable figures; individuals such as Right Honourable Syed Ameer Ali, Shah Aga Khan, Sir Theodore Morison, Lord Nathan Mayer Rothschild and Marmaduke Pickthall; Muslim and non-Muslim alike helped to gather funds to establish London’s first purpose built mosque. The Trust is currently in its centenary year and celebrating through a wide range of activities to mark this historic occasion.