Construction of the new Masjid in Leicester in its final stages

20 March 2018, Asian Voice

Dhiren Katwa

Plaudits have been bestowed upon Leicester’s Dawoodi Bohra community for its longstanding and significant part in the overall peace and prosperity of the city.

The city’s Bishop, The Rt Rev Martyn Snow, described the community, also known as Anjuman-e-Saifee, as “a nucleus of our community”.

The Bishop was guest of honour at a momentous event to mark the end of a final construction phase of a new “masjid” mosque in Leicester last Wednesday. The self-funded mosque, which will have cost an estimated £3mn once finished, is a dream come true for the community which has persevered on this project for almost 30 years. Considering there are just around 100 Dawoodi Bohra families in Leicester this is a remarkable achievement.

The community’s first mosque on British soil was officially opened in Northolt, London, by HRH Prince Charles in February 2009. The Leicester mosque – which is scheduled to open this Summer by the community’s spiritual world leader, His Holiness Syedna Muffaddal Saifuddin – will be the fifth in the UK, with one in Birmingham which opened last year.

Guests were then led downstairs to a room with round tables, each with their names on. Following a prayer, a short video about the community was screened. Then came the speeches, which lasted for just over an hour following which sumptuous in-house prepared hot traditional south Asian meals were served.

Guests included: Pankaj Sharma from the Indian Embassy in Birmingham, Leicester Councillors Ted Cassidy MBE, Bhupendra Dave, Mohammed Parvez Sheikh, Ramanbhai Barber MBE DL, Smitaben Shah, Mukeshbhai Naker, Sakilbhai Khan Pathan, Abdul-bhai Gheewala, George Ballentyne from the City Mayor’s office. Also in attendance, representing London’s Dawoodi Bohra community was Farazdaq-bhai Zainuddin and Manchester, Dr Zulfikar Husain. The vote of thanks was given by community “role model” Jaffer-bhai Kapasi, Uganda’s honorary consul in the Midlands, who this week is in the Ugandan capital Kampala as part of a delegation which will meet Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni.

Dawoodi Bohras, a sect of Islam, mostly originate from the north west Indian state of Gujarat. The name ‘Bohra’ comes from the Gujarati word ‘vohra’ which means trader; for the community essentially was then and remains an enterprising and entrepreneurial community although a substantial number, mainly the younger generations, have branched out into all professional sectors.