COMMUNITY leaders and residents celebrated the official opening of Chorley's brand new mosque.
The town's Muslim community invited residents, the police and local dignitaries to an open day at the new Brooke Street faith centre, with the building completed last year, following more than 400,000 in donations.
Najeeb Raza, of the Chorley Muslim Welfare Society, said: "This is an important day because it is the first purpose-built mosque for our community – built according to Muslim architecture.
"In the last 30 years, we have prayed in a house on Victoria Street and then in a converted pub on Lyons Lane, but this is a place built especially for people to practice their faith.
"The open day was organised to show people around the mosque and continue work for good and harmonious relations in Chorley. The mosque was built entirely with donations from the community and we are very grateful for the support from the council and local people."
Visitors were given a guided tour of the mosque, including a wash room, two large prayer rooms on each floor, and information boards on Islam, with guests invited to taste a selection of Asian delicacies.
The Reverend Dr John Cree, rector of Chorley, said: "I feel it is important to see the various faith groups in Chorley work together and that we learn about the similarities in our religions. The mosque is an impressive building and I'm glad to see so many people have turned up to come here and see the facilities."
Coun Cath Hoyle added: "I think the mosque is a wonderful building, and I was impressed with the facilities. I congratulate the Muslim community on organising this open day, which gave a lot of people a better understanding of Islam. It was important to show that all faith groups can live together peacefully in a community like Chorley."
Insp Ian Roberts, of Chorley Police, added: "It was interesting to see the mosque, and the open day was a great opportunity for police to meet and liaise with members of Chorley's Muslim community."