MUSLIM leaders are gearing up for the official opening of Chesham's first mosque next month and hope it will set an example of tolerance to other towns.

Funding for the £1.6 million building came entirely from donations and not from any grants. People across the country gave money to the mosque committee so that the project could go ahead.

It is now hoped that the new mosque will further underline the diversity of Chesham.

Mohammed Fayyaz, deputy mayor of Chesham, said: "It's a dream come true. Everybody was looking forward to the mosque being built and people have been asking every day when it will be finished. Even people who have never been to a mosque are anxious to come and have a look."

Cllr Fayyaz told the Free Press that the building will revolutionise the lives of Muslims who were previously relying on a makeshift mosque. Two houses on Bellingdon Road were being used for prayers and people were even using the front garden when the houses were particularly busy.

He said: "We couldn't accommodate all the Muslims in the previous mosque. This building will also now provide a better education for people."

Cllr Fayyaz, who has lived in the town since 1967, believes that the Mosque will help bring a tight-knit community even closer together. He added: "I hope we can set an example in terms of better understanding and tolerance in the community. People of Chesham are broad-minded and we've never had any problems here."

Mohammed Zafar, chairman of the mosque committee, said: "We are very pleased and would like to thank to all the people who supported us."

Bill Richards of Chesham Town Council said: "We welcome it and we think it's a fine step forward for inter-faith relations."

The mosque will be officially opened on August 14 when the Mayor of Chesham will be accompanied by MP Cheryl Gillan and members of Chesham town council.