Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Update cookies preferences

A Beacon in the Dark: London’s Historic Turkish Mosque on the Brink

A Beacon in the Dark: London’s Historic Turkish Mosque on the Brink

In the heart of East London's vibrant Dalston neighborhood, the UK's first Turkish mosque, Masjid Ramadan, faces a dire financial crisis as its energy bills have skyrocketed.

The mosque, also known as the Shacklewell Lane mosque, has seen its monthly costs triple, with the latest electricity bill alone amounting to a staggering £17,000.

Erkin Güney, the 59-year-old chair of the mosque, expressed his concerns:

"Our congregation is not as strong financially; everyone is on the breadline. We're barely collecting £200 to £300 a week, which is nowhere near the £4,000 needed monthly to keep the mosque running," he said.

Güney, who also owns the land on which the mosque stands, fears that the mosque may have to close its doors by the next Ramadan.

The Shacklewell Lane mosque, originally built in 1903 as a synagogue for the Jewish community, was transformed into a mosque by Güney's father, Ramadan Güney, in the 1970s.

Since then, it has been a cornerstone for the Turkish Cypriot community in London. However, the changing demographics and gentrification of Dalston have led to a decline in attendance and donations.

Güney lamented the potential loss of the mosque, "It's tragic. They want to take it down and turn it into flats. If we have to redevelop, we'd lose the essence of what this place has been for over a century."

The mosque's struggle is emblematic of the broader energy crisis gripping the UK, where businesses and institutions alike grapple with soaring costs and uncertain futures.

As the first Turkish mosque in the UK, Masjid Ramadan's fight to survive is not just about keeping the lights on; it's about preserving a piece of cultural heritage amid the relentless tide of urban development.

For now, the mosque continues to serve its community, holding funeral services as its main source of income.

But the future remains uncertain, with the threat of developers looming and the congregation dwindling.