After a decade-long search, Canberra’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community is a step closer to having their own purpose-built mosque, with a development application lodged for a site in Narrabundah.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, who preach “love for all, hatred for none”, has submitted an application to build a 703-square-metre place of worship, along with a single dwelling and a 70-space carpark.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association ACT outreach director, Ahmed Munir who has lodged a development application for a new mosque in Narrabundah. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
It is expected to cost $1,288,000 with plans designed by AMC Architecture. A two-storey mosque will accommodate 300 worshipers and an Imam’s residence.
The 4000-square metre block neighbours the Spanish-Australian Club, the Best Western hotel and the Narrabundah ball park. It is zoned CZ6 for leisure and accommodation.
The Ahmadiyya Association was offered the block by the ACT government in 2017.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association ACT director of community outreach, Ahmed Munir said it was the “greatest feeling” to secure the site.
“It was the greatest feeling a community could have, because eventually we were going to get that purpose-built mosque, a lot of people thought it might have been too difficult to get so it was a fantastic feeling,” he said.
Mr Munir said Canberra’s Ahmadi community has searched for a land for decade.
“The community had been looking for a block of land to build a mosque and they have been in discussions and negotiations with the government for a long time,” he said.
“We are a community organisation and we obviously needed the direct sale process to happen for us to get a block of land.”
Construction of the mosque was intended to start this year, but Mr Munir said it was the “usual delays” that held up the process.
In 2014, a mosque was proposed to be built near the Rivett shops but residents and shop owners expressed concerns and the Ahmadiyya Association abandoned those plans.
“A block of land in Rivett was identified originally, but looking at a number of factors we sort of pulled ourselves out because of where it was located and we were gauging some uneasiness with the shop owners,” said Mr Munir.
A site in Hume was then identified, but the ACT government later deemed the site unsuitable.
The Canberra Ahmadi community has worshiped out of temporary locations with prayer services currently held from a site in Fyshwick. Prior to that, they were based in the Griffin Centre in the city.
There are about 150 members in Canberra, with about 6000 members across Australia. There are only two purpose-built Ahmadiyya mosques in Australia, in NSW and Queensland.
“We’re very lucky we have been blessed with a place here in the capital of the country,” said Mr Munir.
The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in 1889, and is based on the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmah who is accepted as a messiah in the denomination. They have faced persecution overseas, in Pakistan Ahmadi Muslims are prohibited by law.
While the mosque has not yet been built, the world head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad gave the name to the Narrabundah mosque, Masjid Bait-ul-Hadi, meaning ‘house of the guider’, or ‘the one who guides’.
The direct sale of the block will be concluded upon development application approval.
Categories: The Muslim Times