Monday, 16 June 2014

Celebrating Ballarat's new Mosque #1

This report was published in The Courier, Balliarat's daily newspaper, over the week-end.  I am expecting photos to come to me which should help in providing a broader report.

Ballarat's first mosque helps build community

BALLARAT has ushered in a new era with the first dedicated prayer space for its growing Muslim population nearing completion.
Construction of the city's first mosque is due to be finished within two months.
The Courier was given a tour of the near complete Elsworth Street mosque on Saturday.
Once open, which could be as soon as August, the mosque will have the capacity to hold about 150 people and will be open every day from dawn.
Aisha Aboulfadil, a Muslim living in Ballarat for the last seven years, said the mosque represented more than just prayer.
"It can feel really disjointed here in Ballarat... it can feel like 'well I'm a Muslim and people accept that but why don't we have anywhere to pray?," she said.
"This is huge for Ballarat, it will bring people together, it will build our community, it will offer the chance to meet others of the same faith... it is so much more than just a place to pray."
A local 17-year-old Muslim refugee, who fled brutal conflict in Pakistan in 2012, said the mosque would make life in Australia without his family a little easier.
The teenager, who didn't want to be named, said he often travelled to mosques in Melbourne to pray.
"I pray everyday... but I've never had the chance to pray at a Mosque in Ballarat," he said.
"This means a lot for me, and it means a lot for Ballarat... it's a very big thing."
Ballarat's Muslim community, which includes about 70 families and a strong contingent of students, currently pray from home or use a dedicated space at the university for collective prayer on Fridays.
A topic of debate and anger in many communities around the country, the construction of the mosque in Ballarat has so far been smooth sailing.
Ballarat Islamic Society board member Mehfooz Ahmad said the group wanted to thank the people of Ballarat for their "overwhelming support".
"At the beginning there was a little bit of resistance... but now we can't thank the people of Ballarat enough for their support," he said.
Mr Ahmad was quick to denounce some of the myths surrounding mosques, including concerns about the traditional 'call to prayer' being played over loudspeakers.
"That will not happen here because it simply isn't required," he said.
He said many Islamic countries played the call to prayer over loudspeakers to remind people to pray, adding it wasn't required in Ballarat because of the small number of Muslims and the fact they would know prayer times at the new mosque.
While not a residential area by any means - the mosque is mostly surrounded by industrial buildings - the mosque is neighboured by two homes.
Mr Mehfooz said those occupants had also been supportive and co-operative.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Beside The Creek does not accept Anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.