Sunday, April 30, 2017

Australia: Government sells ACT Ahmadiyya Muslims Narrabundah land for mosque


The president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association's ACT chapter, Khalid Syed, said the group would next contact architects to begin development application preparations.

Ahmadiyya Association of Australia ACT acting president Khalid Syed says the
Ahmadi community was "very happy" about the development. Photo: Jay Cronan
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | AU Desk
Source/Credit: The Canberra Times
By Stephen Jeffery | April 29, 2017

A vacant block behind the Narrabundah Ball Park could soon be home to the first permanent Ahmadi mosque in Canberra.

The city's Ahmadiyya Muslim community is one step closer to securing a custom-built mosque after the government offered the 4000 square metre block for their use.

The decision could mark the beginning of the end of the religious group's five-year search for a site on which to build a permanent place of worship, which was beset with arguments over the suitability of land in two other suburbs.

The president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association's ACT chapter, Khalid Syed, said the group would next contact architects to begin development application preparations.

He said the Ahmadi community was "very, very happy" about the development.

"We are very grateful to the ACT government, I think this is a really good and positive outcome," he said.

"It's still in very early stages and we're still in the process of figuring out exactly what is required of us now."

Economic Development director general David Dawes said the site was zoned to allow for a place of worship and was big enough for onsite parking.

He said the direct sale offer was dependent on the approval of a development application from the association.

"The development application process will deal with any issues relating to traffic management, parking and noise," he said.

"The offer of direct sale is consistent with other direct sales to religious and community organisations in the ACT."

Mr Dawes said the site, which is between two hotels and the Spanish Australian Club building, was used as an informal maintenance road to the Narrabundah Ball Park.

"A condition of any direct sale will be to provide a formal road on one side of the site to ensure continued maintenance access to the ball park," he said.

The mosque was originally planned for land near the Rivett shops in March 2014.

But the site was abandoned before the association could submit a development application due to concerns from residents and store owners about possible parking and vandalism problems.

The government then suggested land near an industrial area at Hume in 2015, but the Land Development Agency advised against its suitability.

Worshippers have attended prayer services at temporary locations, first at the Griffin Centre and then at a leased shopfront in Fyshwick.

The Ahmadiyya movement is controversial in the Islamic world due to some belief systems other denominations regard as heretical.

In Pakistan, Ahmadis are legally declared to be non-Muslims, while persecution of adherents has been reported in several countries.

There are currently two purpose-built Ahmadiyya mosques in Australia in NSW and Queensland.


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