The Muslim population of Surrey has been historically based around the major commercial centres of the county, with North West Surrey being close to higher concentrations of followers in neighbouring towns such as Kingston, Hounslow, Southall, or further towards London.
Woking hosts the oldest mosque in Britain and was the most popular focal point for bi-annual Eid prayer celebrations, in the area.
More regularly, Surrey-based muslims would usually need to travel quite far to attend Friday prayers or Ramadan festivities at a mosque.
Daily prayer attendance would always be difficult, with worshippers gathering informally at private residences.
Eventually, a group of dedicated British-Bangladeshi elders decided establish a trust, with the long-term goal of establishing a permanent prayer facility or fully-fledged mosque, to serve the local communities outside the Kingston and Woking areas.
Surrey Islamic Trust was subsequently created and registered in mid-1992, with regular donations from the local community. These funds were initially used to hire a space, such as Weybridge Village Hall, or Addlestone Community Centre, for Friday prayers which began with 20-30 worshippers and quickly grew to a regular 80-100 every week, with donations increasing over time.
A fundraising committee was established which, following larger individual contributions, were able to purchase a building in Addlestone, that was large enough to accomodate a larger congregation. The growing congregation faced various obstacles in establishing the site for prayer, as permission was only granted for learning or education purposes and, as the group continued to grow, the trust continued to search for a larger, more suitable premises that would allow worship to take place.
By the Grace of God/Allah, news of the the Surrey Islamic Trust reached an enlightened priest at a nearby church, St. Augustine’s, close to the Addlestone/Weybridge border. He understood the plight of the congregation and, having a shared belief in the worship of One God, graciously offered to sell the church building and grounds, with its’ Licence to Worship, to be purchased by S.I.T. in 2008, from the proceeds of the sale of the Addlestone premises.
The Surrey Muslim Centre was subsequently established at Albert Road, Addlestone, close to the mainline railway station and with easy access to the M25 and surrounding towns.
The congregation has grown significantly in the 10 years since, with the addition of washing (ablution) facilities and, more recently, clean-room facilities for Muslim pre-burial process, transportation and ritual body washing (Ghusl) of deceased.