Islamic Centre of England
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The Islamic Centre of England Ltd (ICEL) is a religious and cultural building at 140 Maida Vale, London, England, established in 1996 by Ayatollah Mohsen Araki to cater for the cultural, social and emotional needs of the Iranian community living outside of Iran. It was founded in December 1995, and opened officially in November 1998.
It is an educational centre for those who wish to increase their knowledge of Islamic principles and cultural values and therefore, helping to strengthen the social structure of the community. The centre provides counselling and support in all areas of family life including: pre-marital counselling, marital contracts, marital relationships, parenting.
The building is a listed building, which has been refurbished to assume an Islamic decorative hue. On its ground level the building has a grand hall, measuring 20 x 16m, which is capable of accommodating 450 people; it is used for holding major functions. There is a smaller hall on a raised platform, measuring 20 x 6m, used mainly for prayers. The first floor comprises two halls, the first measuring 20 x 6m and the second 8 x 8m; they are capable of accommodating 150 and 50 people. The library is on the first floor.
The annex comprises a bookshop.
The main hall is equipped with audio-visual equipment, such as projectors, a screen for films, public address and simultaneous translation systems. There is a stage that can be used for theatrical performances.
Religious enquires section
The Religious Enquires Section (RES) of the Islamic Centre of England was set up at the very beginning. It comprises a team of multilingual experts who will deal with every question according to the linguistic background of the enquirer.
Questions are received from all over the world via telephone, fax, and email and in person. The answers are compiled for a publication. RES has already published books containing questions and answers.
Family and Social Affairs Department
The Family and Social Affairs Department of the Islamic Centre of England was one of the first departments to be set up upon the establishment of the Centre. The section is a refuge and reference for the community to seek advice and consideration of their family and social affairs.
The main areas of work covered by the department are solemnisation of marriages, family consultation, miscellaneous social affairs, Islamic divorce procedures and conversion to Islam.
In its drive to disseminate knowledge about Islam, the Islamic Centre of England organises conferences and seminars every year in collaboration with British and international educational and cultural institutions. Since Muslims in the UK form a mosaic of ethnicity, ICE provides speakers in four languages for weekly lectures: English, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu.
ICEL provides educational classes for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Educational sessions can be held for groups or on a one-to-one basis. The centre has established links with schools and universities for which it provides regular lessons to visiting students.
Islamic calendar events
ICEL celebrates the occasion of the month-long fast of Ramadan by holding gathering for congregational prayers, recitation of the Holy Quran, giving lectures and providing meals for the devotees to break their daytime fast.
ICEL celebrates the anniversary of the Public Declaration of the Mission of the prophet Muhammad.
IDELre of England observes a week of celebrations for the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad, with the theme of “Islam Unity”.
Publications and distribution
The Islamic Centre of England publishes printed material in English, Persian, Arabic and Urdu. 'Living Islam' is a monthly newsletter which is published in those four languages.
Library and bookshop
The library contains a few thousand volumes. It receives magazines, periodicals and newsletters dealing with Islamic issues and studies. Other publications, in English, Persian, Arabic and Urdu, aimed at giving information about Islam, can be acquired free of charge. The Centre welcomes scholars, researchers and students to make use of the library.
The bookshop stocks multilingual books, magazines, journals, audio tapes, CDs and DVDs. In addition, there are posters, calendars and items of Islamic arts.