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Hamilton Muslims give final touches to new mosque for Ramadan

Sunday July 24, 2011 11:07:52 AM, News Desk

Malegaon: The Muslim Association of Hamilton (MAH) is encouraging its members to donate about $200,000 in the remaining week before Ramadan - the holy month of fasting begins August 1. That’s what it will take to finish the bare minimum of work required and secure a temporary occupation permit so the Hamilton Muslims can pray together in its developing new mosque, a media reports said.


“Ramadan is a very special time for all Muslims,” The Hamilton Spectator quoted MAH spokesperson Kamran Bhatti.

“There is a greater sense of generosity, a greater sense of spirituality, a greater connection to God. For Muslims as they’re fasting, they’re remembering the plight of those less fortunate and so there’s a spiritual aspect to this. So we want to share as greatly as possible that experience and to be able to put everyone together in one location", he added, standing in the 24,000-square-foot space

The Muslim Association of Hamilton (MAH) purchased the plot of land behind its existing mosque and school on Stone Church Road East 20 years ago, but the community has only seen the new place of worship come together in the past four or five years, Bhatti said July 22.

Today, the new mosque is in the final stages of completion, but they need to raise $500,000 in order to make the facility fully “usable,” he said.

The community’s leaders are asking local Muslims to raise enough dollars by the last day of the month, when Ramadan begins, to obtain the permit so both men and women can pray together in one open space on the main floor of the new worship facility.

In the original Mountain mosque, men are scattered around the first floor, praying in hallways of the school, in the boardroom and in the school’s gym, formerly a racquetball court. The women pray in a room on the second floor.

The mezzanine level of the new mosque will have a daily prayer area for women, a nursery and room for community meetings or classes.

Workers are still installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning, putting up drywall and insulation, painting and doing inside finishing. The new carpet is being shipped from Turkey and is expected to arrive as early as Saturday, said project co-ordinator Fayez Agina, adding that about 28,000 square feet of floor covering was ordered.

The original mosque will be converted into a community centre open to the public and the association is thinking about building a new gym for the Islamic School of Hamilton, Bhatti said.

In the past 45 days, about $300,000 in donations has been collected`, Agina said.

“We pushed our community to donate to finish because they’re also tired. They want to have it done,” he said.

Bhatti agreed. The entire project, pegged at a total of $2.3 million, is “due,” he said. “The community’s … really excited because they can touch it, they can feel it now. That dream’s coming to life.”

The mosque serves about 1,000 to 1,200 congregants in the area and has two prayer sessions on Friday to accommodate the growing community, Bhatti said, adding that as many as 1,700 visitors are expected during Ramadan.

The new mosque will fit about 2,000 to 2,200 on the main floor and another 800 to 1,000 on the mezzanine level.

There are about 30,000 Muslims in Hamilton — double that of a decade ago, Bhatti said.

Mohammad Abu, 40, who has been attending the mosque for 10 years, said the $200,000 goal is achievable because people are more generous during Ramadan.

“I’m extremely excited. I’m waiting for that moment to open (the mosque),” Abu said. “It is really something.”

The project, with the community centre open to the public, will show local Muslims have “weight in this community,” said Abu, who moved to Hamilton 10 years ago. “We also want to be part of the city.”

Uzma Qureshi, a director on the MAH board, is also anticipating the completion of the mosque, as she has been part of its community for all of her 34 years.

She said the mezzanine level will feature a soundproof child-minding area and provide more space for women to pray.

“(Knowing) that this prayer area, this mosque, this community centre … is going to provide for generations upon generations to come, to say excitement is an understatement,” The Hamilton Spectator quoted Qureshi.










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