Hundreds of millions of pounds donated by Muslims each year as part of their religious duty should be spent in the UK rather than on overseas aid, mosque leaders have been told.

One of the five central tenets of Islam is zakat. It calls on Muslims to donate 2.5 per cent of their wealth to help the needy. Iqbal Nasim, chief executive of the National Zakat Foundation, said British Muslims gave up to £300 million in zakat each year. He said that more than 98 per cent was donated for overseas aid but Islam taught that zakat should support the donor's local community.

The first big conference in Britain for mosques to share expertise on how to improve governance, outreach and security was held in London on Saturday, run by the Muslim Council of Britain. It heard that many mosques were "not fit for purpose" and risked becoming "defunct" if they did not become more like community centres.

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