Yusuf Islam’s Maqam Center in London

Posted Jan 4, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version Bookmark and Share

Yusuf Islam’s Maqam Center in London

At the same time that the planned Cordoba House/Park51 Islamic Cultural Center planned for NYC was at the center of a firestorm of protests - another, very similar project in London quietly moved towards completion.

Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) is heading this wonderful new project - the Maqam Center in London being developed through the Yusuf Islam Foundation.  A website has been established to explain the project at http://www.themaqam.com/ The site has beautiful photographs of the Center.  They are still raising funds to complete the work, and information on how to contribute is also available on the site.

Here is the information directly from the site explaining the vision.

The first two stages of the project are complete. These involved underpinning the structure, piling, foundations and services together with the shell and core and an onsite caretaker’s flat. Some stage two cosmetic treatment to the shell remains outstanding in respect of green walls and green roofs together with some cladding to the tower.

The third and final stage relating to the internal arrangement of spaces and interior design is now underway. Together with our design and project team we have developed a scheme to deliver a fantastic and inspirational building that has received planning approval from the local authority.

The detailed interior is programmed to be finalised by the end of December 2010. Building works will re-commence thereafter with a 26 week contract period followed by an internal fit-out. We expect that the programme will run to schedule and that the venue will be ready for its first visitors by the end of 2011 or early 2012 at the latest.


London is famous throughout the world for its cultural and religious diversity. Within this cosmopolitan setting, there is a pressing need for bridge building to promote a better understanding of faith and cultural issues, and to show how diverse communities can integrate and work together for the greater good.

Alongside this, a proper appreciation of Islam and the universal values that are at its core is vital to helping achieve a healthier and more spiritually tolerant society, allowing us to share and strengthen the things we all hold in common.

Focusing on the noble figure of Abraham and his position as ‘the Father of the Prophets’, the MAQAM Centre will demonstrate the real spirit of Islam, which is built on belief in one God, and respect for all His prophets and creation. The name of the Centre is inspired by the MAQAM where Prophet Abraham stood while building the first House of God in Makkah.

The aim of the MAQAM Centre is to provide a welcoming environment for contemplative and creative expression, where the community at large, professionals, academics and artists can meet, work and interact. It will create a place of friendship and mutual respect where people of all backgrounds will learn about themselves, the world around them, and the art of living better lives.

As well as a contemplation space and café, the Centre will act as a venue for exhibitions, performances, trade shows, lectures and workshops. A holistic approach to life will be reflected through the provision of a range of well-being facilities including a sauna and swimming pool for people of all ages and abilities.

The MAQAM is a unique concept in contemporary education, health, and spirituality, bringing the opportunity for interactive learning and personal development into the heart of the community. Through creative and participatory courses and events, schools, the youth, local residents, public service workers and people at large will have access to entertaining and highly effective learning and self-improvement opportunities.

The Centre is situated at the corner of Wrentham Avenue and Tiverton Road, overlooking the playing fields of Aylestone Park, London NW10.  The three floors of the Maqam are designed to reflect the themes of Body, Mind and Spirit.


The ground floor, reflecting the Body theme, provides a relaxed café, crèche and youth area in close proximity to a swimming pool and health spa. This makes it an ideal venue for schools, members, and mothers and children of all ages.

Health and Well-being

Islam’s holistic approach to life will be reflected at the MAQAM through the provision of a range of health and well-being facilities, including a swimming pool, sauna and spa on the ground floor for use by women and men separately.

The pool will be available for hire by schools and for private parties. There will be mother and toddler classes as well as antenatal sessions for mums-to-be!

There is also the option to turn on pressure jets at one end of the pool, accelerating the water past the swimmer to produce a current and creating a water workout that can be used by competitive swimmers or individuals on a more rigorous exercise program.

A range of yoga, aerobics, and martial arts classes will also be on offer at the Centre.


The MAQAM will offer a hospitable refreshment area reflecting the Islamic tradition of the coffee house - a place where people can socialise and relax together. The Cafe will include a juice bar and provide snacks and light meals throughout the day and also offer wireless facilities and a games area.

Crèche (childcare)

A crèche with qualified staff will be available to all parents with young children wanting to use the Centre’s facilities.


The spacious main hall on the first floor develops the Centre’s Mind theme and provides a venue for performances, conferences, training courses, weddings, trade shows and lectures. Its proposed multimedia facilities allow for televised and radio discussions.

Arts and Performance

The Centre will offer its space for exhibitions of local and visiting artists. It will have the facilities
for theatre, cinematic film projection, open mic events, plays and performances. Courses providing professional development, teacher training, Qur’anic studies, life skills, languages, and the creative arts will be welcomed.

Conferences, Weddings and Functions

The MAQAM will provide its space for conferences, weddings, lectures, trade shows, networking, workshops and meetings. Schools will also be encouraged to use the MAQAM as a teaching aid to help deliver aspects of the curriculum such as media studies, drama and citizenship.

Youth Clubs

Youth clubs will be established for boys and girls. Courses will be offered where professionals will help develop their minds, bodies and spirits through exciting and active programmes, away from the dangers that many of today’s youth face on the streets of the city. The MAQAM will encourage visits from community groups and schools, offering facilities to receive school children and provide information and fact sheets, and help for teachers in lesson planning.


The second floor mezzanine embodies the Spirit theme and provides male and female contemplation rooms as well as an exhibition space and gallery. This area will also host courses and activities related to spirituality. Each year, a major exhibition will be presented.

This area will also serve to provide extra room for refreshments during major performances and televised events.