Saturday, June 11, 2016

Australia: Ahmadiyya Muslim Association ACT Chapter awaits mosque decision


ACT elders branch president Khalid Syed said the association felt it was unlikely progress on a mosque location would not begin until after the election.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | AU Desk
Source/Credit: The Canberra Times
By Stephen Jeffery | June 11 2016

A Canberra Muslim group expects not to receive news about a potential site for a long-planned mosque until after the election.

The ACT's Ahmadiyya​ Muslim community has been searching for a permanent mosque site for six years, but a series of failed land bids and unsuccessful searches for suitable sites has left the group with little choice but to rent premises.

ACT elders branch president Khalid Syed said the association felt it was unlikely progress on a mosque location would not begin until after the election.

"The last we heard was a decision would be made sometime later on [post-election], but we are not sure when," he said.

"We are guessing it will be a few months after the election that we are next going to hear of it."

The association signed a two-year lease for a Fyshwick property earlier this year, moving out of its previous premises in the Griffin Centre because of space concerns.

While the new place of worship has solved spacing issues, which during peak periods forced some worshippers out of the room at the old site, Mr Syed said it was not a long-term solution.

"The cost is too high," he said.

"It's big enough for us for the time being, but the target is to somehow get land for a mosque so we can purpose-build."

The Fyshwick site provides space for up to 150 people, but the association wants its permanent space to have room for up to 500.

Ahmadiyya adherents, who differ from other Muslims in believing its movement's 19th-century founder was the most recent prophet and promised messiah, see mosques as community centres with other features such as libraries attached.

Mr Khalid said the additional features meant securing land for a purpose-built mosque was important.

"We have our audio-video department, we have internet access, and we have a library we need to build," he said.

"So we need to have a proper community centre, which is not possible in a rented place like this."

The community withdrew plans to build the mosque on allocated land near the Rivett shops in early 2015 amidst strong opposition from local business owners, who were concerned about the effect it would have on parking.

The association had originally seen a site at Hume as a solution to the issues raised, but the government advised against its suitability in June.

The government has since identified a possible alternative site for the mosque but has yet to make a decision on whether it will be offered.


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