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New mosque for Tuggeranong

Date

Meredith Clisby

Canberra Islamic Centre president Azra Khan, project designer and planner Shamsul Huda and treasurer Ali Akbar are pleased the centre is finally proceeding with stage two of their works, including a new mosque and more library space.

Canberra Islamic Centre president Azra Khan, project designer and planner Shamsul Huda and treasurer Ali Akbar are pleased the centre is finally proceeding with stage two of their works, including a new mosque and more library space. Photo: Elesa Lee

After more than a decade of planning, a new mosque will finally be built in Tuggeranong to complete the Canberra Islamic Centre.

Members of the centre have been calling for a dedicated place of worship after years of sharing prayer space with meetings, educational classes, functions and community gatherings.

The executive committee is excited to be progressing works that have been envisioned since the community hall opened more than a decade ago.

The breaking fast dinner at the Canberra Islamic Centre at the end of Ramadan last year.

The breaking fast dinner at the Canberra Islamic Centre at the end of Ramadan last year. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The development application has now been lodged with the ACT Planning and Land Authority.

Canberra Islamic Centre president Azra Khan said the main delay had been attracting enough funding, as the centre was a not-for-profit association.

She said it was time to separate the prayers from the other activities the centre ran during the week to accommodate the increased membership.

“It’s quite a challenging time for the committee and for the community but at the same time, [the] time has come for us to actually have a dedicated place of worship on the southside of Canberra to meet that demand and enable us as a community to get together and be able to pray properly,” Ms Khan said.

“It just gives us that flexibility now to have a dedicated area for prayer and for our library reading rooms and for educational purposes as well.”

The project would be a staged construction as funding, provided primarily through member donations, became available.

The development application proposes a two-level place of worship or mosque building forming part of the Australian National Islamic Library, lecture/class rooms, an imam’s consultation room and residence, a burial wash room and a symbolic architectural element with no provision for loud speakers.

The centre, on Clive Steele Avenue in Monash, is also home to more than 30,000 books, including Korans more than 200 years old, as part of the library.

As part of the extension there will be dedicated reading spaces and storage of many of these books, thousands of which are still in boxes, a shipping container, and members’ homes due to lack of space.

Ms Khan said the extra room that the two-level facility would provide would also enable the committee to hire out the hall for more community events.

Because of the sheer number of people attending the centre, they have not had the space recently.

Each week the Canberra Islamic Centre has about 150 children and parents attend classes, between 50 to 70 people visit to pray each day and about 300 take part in the main congregational prayer session on Fridays.

At special religious events, like the breaking of fast at Ramadan, the centre could host up to 750 people.

Project designer Shamsul Huda said the new worship area would not attract more people to the centre from other places of worship in Canberra but would meet the demand in the south.

“The growth that is going to happen is just a natural growth, over time the numbers of Muslims are growing so it’s more that we just get our share of people living on the southside,” he said.

Pending ACT government approval, he hoped work would begin during this financial year.

Public submissions on the application close Thursday, March 21.

16 comments

  • I have been watching this Mosque sloqwly grow over the years. I will be please to see it finally finished.

    Commenter
    Another Grumpyoldfart
    Location
    Tuggeranong
    Date and time
    March 07, 2013, 3:21PM
    • I have fought in most wars on this planet as a very proud Australian Soldier who only retired 12 months ago - I see this as a basic integration of Australian multiculturalism and one that should be embraced. I agree with the nay Sayers about Mosques that have loud speakers, tower over the vista, and the like. But religion is a choice, fanaticism is a disease – not many have it. Good luck to them in preaching what they truly say is in the Koran – peace.

      Commenter
      Tolerant
      Location
      Jerra
      Date and time
      March 07, 2013, 4:04PM
      • Amazing...I thought the idea of coming to a new country was to "assimilate"...obviously not for these people! We want "our schools, our churches etc etc etc....and on top of that we are so "interested in assimilating" that we will dictate what your children can and can't do in their own country! Talk about reverse discrimination....Juliar must be so proud of herself......

        Commenter
        Shannxi
        Date and time
        March 07, 2013, 4:31PM
        • What is amazing in a group of Australians building a place of prayer? Assimilation does not mean giving up ones religious or cultural practices. It is the ignorant who feel threatened. Remember a lot of the present day Muslims were born in Australia and are just as dinkiedie as you or me.

          Commenter
          Canberran50
          Date and time
          March 07, 2013, 6:06PM
        • Multiculturalism has destroyed many countries where they do not require the people coming in to follow the system of the country they choose. If we are not careful our politically correct "non racist" speech will kill us. I do not like the idea of mosques going up, nor do I like seeing the cul-de-sacs of Muslim families, nor that of other cultures who all take over a suburb. It is not integration into our society. When the refugees and immigrants came during and after the world wars they were desperate for hope and found a country that was like Eden. They busted a hump learning the language, customs and food, while also sharing theirs. They did not come in and force their culture but offered it.
          That said the gentleman from Denmark, who visited recently and who was so badly treated should be listened to. He has experience and has done his research on the Muslim people and their faith. Be careful. Many are lovely, friendly people but their directives from the Koran will not allow gay people, or uncovered women, it even allows them to lie to unbelievers because we are not really worth anything to Allah unless we do his will. By the way they don't even know if they are going to heaven unless they are killed while fighting or killing infidels. Yes I know you've heard it all before, it's in their holy book!
          Not something I would like to see continue in this country. Yep, I may just be racist!

          Commenter
          Squeamish
          Date and time
          March 07, 2013, 7:34PM
        • Multiculturalism has destroyed many countries where they do not require the people coming in to follow the system of the country they choose. If we are not careful our politically correct "non racist" speech will kill us. I do not like the idea of mosques going up, nor do I like seeing the cul-de-sacs of Muslim families, nor that of other cultures who all take over a suburb. It is not integration into our society. When the refugees and immigrants came during and after the world wars they were desperate for hope and found a country that was like Eden. They busted a hump learning the language, customs and food, while also sharing theirs. They did not come in and force their culture but offered it.
          That said the gentleman from Denmark, who visited recently and who was so badly treated should be listened to. He has experience and has done his research on the Muslim people and their faith. Be careful. Many are lovely, friendly people but their directives from the Koran will not allow gay people, or uncovered women, it even allows them to lie to unbelievers because we are not really worth anything to Allah unless we do his will. By the way they don't even know if they are going to heaven unless they are killed while fighting or killing infidels. Yes I know you've heard it all before, it's in their holy book!
          Not something I would like to see continue in this country. Yep, I may just be racist!

          Commenter
          Squeamish
          Date and time
          March 07, 2013, 7:34PM
        • People can assimilate while still keeping aspects of their own culture. Freedom of religion is a vital aspect that makes our's a free country. They hurt no one by having a place of worship. Please spout your thinly veiled racism elsewhere.

          Commenter
          Exe
          Date and time
          March 07, 2013, 8:38PM
        • Shanxi, don't you know assimilation is a dirty word these days? it's all about integration. Still, I think assimilation is better than isolation or or exclusion.

          Commenter
          John121
          Date and time
          March 07, 2013, 10:39PM
        • put another way, would you rather:

          * migrants abandon their own culture and absorb their host nations culture? (assimilation) or
          * retain their own culture was absorbing their host nations culture? (integration) or
          * retain their own culture and reject their host nations culture? (segregation) or
          * reject their own culture but make no links with their host nations culture? (isolation)

          The first two are positive for the migrants and/or their host nation, the last two aren't.

          Commenter
          John121
          Location
          Singapore
          Date and time
          March 07, 2013, 10:50PM
        • Irish Catholics came to Australia and built their own churches and schools. Is that considered to be a lack of assimilation? We did not fear Catholics during the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland - no matter how violent it became.

          Commenter
          Bronte
          Date and time
          March 08, 2013, 8:11AM

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