Imam I.H. Kauser, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Australia, at the construction site for the new Ahmadi mosque. Picture: Nick Fuller
March 19, 2021
Canberra’s Ahmadi Muslims have waited for a mosque for more than a decade, but on Sunday, the foundation stone will be laid in Narrabundah.
“By the grace of God, once we have the mosque erected, this will be our base and source of unity,” said Imam Ahmed Nadeem, of the ACT branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia.
His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spiritual head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya, an Islamic revival group, was founded in India in 1899; its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, declared he was the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims, and the Messiah expected by Jews and Christians, his mission to peacefully convert the world to Islam; end bloodshed and religious wars; and return the religion to its original, true meaning of peace, forgiveness, and tolerance.
Today, there are an estimated 10 to 20 million Ahmadis in 200 countries worldwide, the world’s largest Islamic community under one leader, Hazrat (His Holiness) Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Khalifa (Caliph).
Almost 6,000 Ahmadis live in Australia; the ACT’s 150-odd come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africa and Fiji.
“All of our mosques are built with the purpose of bringing people together and serving the community,” said Imam I.H. Kauser, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Australia.
The new mosque, ‘Baitul Hadi’ (‘House of Guide’), will be built in Narupai Street, near the Narrabundah Ball Park. The community bought the site in 2018, and submitted the design in November 2019.
The mosque costs more than $4 million, all donated by local Ahmadis over the last five years.
“We believe in giving rather than taking,” treasurer Mohammed Hasan explained. “We do not accept charity from any organisation or government; we would rather give donations to other charities which need the money; but rather our members contribute for every project we have.”
Women were first and foremost to donate, Mr Hasan said, while even young children have given their pocket money. “As a community, we teach our children to be forthcoming with charity.”
Imam I.H. Kauser and Mohammad Hasan, treasurer of the ACT branch. Picture: Nick Fuller
While a construction company will build the mosque, the Ahmadis themselves levelled the ground and laid the sand. Imam Nadeem himself learnt how to use a bobcat and roller.
Previous attempts to build an ACT Ahmadiyya mosque in Rivett or Hume fell through. The Ahmadis currently use an industrial site in Barrier Street, Fyshwick, for their prayers, functions, and programs, Imam Nadeem said.
This will be only the third purpose-built mosque in Australia, with a minaret and dome. Imam Kauser hoped the minaret would be “a beacon of light radiating peace and love for humanity”.
Construction is expected to take a year to 18 months; once finished, the mosque will accommodate 300 worshippers.
A foundation stone-laying ceremony will be held on Sunday morning. The first brick will be sent from London, with special prayers from the Caliph.
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