Islamic centre needs another 25 million pounds

The long-awaited opening of Oxford's Islamic centre is still years away, with 25 million pounds needed to complete the scheme, it emerged last night.

The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was originally scheduled to open in 2004 on a 325-acre site off Marston Road.

More than 50 milion pounds has been spent on the building so far, with contributions coming from a wide range of Governments including Kuwait, Turkey, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

But although much of the exterior, with its 75ft dome and 108ft minaret, looks all but complete, there is a vast amount of expensive work still to be done.

The centre says it is hoping the UK, Spain and Russia can be persuaded to chip in.

Centre registrar David Browning said there would be no attempt to cut costs or scale down the scheme.

He said: "It still requires a lot of money and costs are going up all the time.

"But there will be no short cuts. This is something worth doing and worth doing properly.

"Our hope is that it may be ready in a couple of years. If you go for the best quality there are implications for costs."

Work on the building started in 2002.

The centre for Islamic Studies is an associated institution of Oxford University which aims to encourage study of Islam and the Islamic world.

This article first appeared in the Oxford Mail on 1st October 2009.