Molonglo Muslim community renews calls for mosque

The Muslim community of Molonglo has renewed its calls for the allocation of land to build a mosque in the area. Photo: File.

On the auspicious occasion of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim community in the Molonglo Valley, 1,000 strong, is once again expressing its need for a mosque.

Nazmul Hasan from the Muslim community in the Molonglo Valley says the occasion is important for Muslims to remember the test of the Prophet Abraham, who was told to sacrifice his son.

It marks the last day of the annual Muslim holy pilgrimage – the Hajj – where millions of Muslims make the journey to Mecca. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, only Muslims in Saudi Arabia can attend.

Nazmul explained that Muslims around the world try to come together to say prayers if they cannot make the pilgrimage. However, it is currently difficult for the Islamic community in Molonglo to come together due to the lack of facilities, which is why the Muslim community in Molonglo Valley is calling on the ACT government to allocate land for a mosque.

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According to Nazmul, the entire community, which he estimates at around 400 families, is currently using the Denman Prospect Community Center, which can only accommodate 57 people at a time.

The small hall also means that only men can join, as traditionally women and men have to be separated for prayers.

While they also rented the outdoor space in Stromlo Forest Park, uncertainties surrounding yesterday morning’s forecast meant that many chose not to attend.

There are currently three mosques in Canberra, one in Yarralumla with a capacity of only 300 people, and another in Gungahlin, which was intended to serve the community of over 6,000 Muslims in northern Canberra. There is also the Canberra Islamic Center (CIC) in Monash.

For Nazmul and others who live in Weston Creek and Molonglo, these two mosques are too far apart and poorly served by public transportation.

“Already the Gungahlin Mosque is busy and overcrowded, while the Yarralumla Mosque is small, so it is clear that a new one is needed,” he explained.

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The Molonglo Valley, which is currently made up of Coombs, Denman Prospect, Whitlam and Wright, will continue to expand over the next few years as new suburbs are built, and Nazmul says it’s important the land for a mosque is allocated now before it is fully utilized. up.

Currently, the group is developing a formal business plan that it will present to its local MPs, with whom Nazmul says they already have a good relationship, and conversations are ongoing.

He also wishes to point out that Molonglo suffers from a lack of all kinds of community services and meeting places and that the planned mosque would also allow all members of the community to come together.

“We really only have temporary rooms at the moment that don’t serve everyone they could. We want a space for the whole community to come together and bridge the gap so that there isn’t a ‘us and them’ feeling, ”he said.

The community is hoping that at some point the new facility could accommodate a group of young people, have space for a women-only pool and daycare.

Eid al-Adha the celebrations will take place this Saturday (July 24) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Stromlo Forest Park, weather and COVID-19 permitting.

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