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Pakistani mosque wants end to Shia-Sunni discrimination
Friday July 19, 2013 6:52 PM, IANS

A businessman in the Pakistani capital has built a mosque that is calling on its followers to stop discriminating along Shia-Sunni sectarian lines and start praying together, in whichever way they like, under the same roof.

The Darul Iman Jamia Masjid Qurtuba mosque has been built in the foothills of the Margalla range, the Dawn reported.

Zahid Iqbal, a local businessman, conceptualised the idea of a sect-free mosque in 2010. He bought a plot for the mosque, but the authorities refused to register it as a sect-free mosque under Islamabad's local development rules.

To bypass the strict rules, Iqbal registered a trust, and then sub-registered the mosque under the trust's banner: The Al-Kitaab Foundation Trust.

With support from other businessmen and overseas Pakistanis, the mosque was built at a cost of Rs.30 million.

Iqbal has found an imam, currently studying for his Master's degree from the Islamic University. The coordinator of the mosque is doing his MBA from Preston University. Both are young men in their 20s.

The mosque administration says it will have no problem if a Shia Imam leads prayers.

Iqbal says there is a simple philosophy behind his idea.

"By branding ourselves along sectarian lines, we have even put non-believers to shame through violence and unruly conduct," the businessman told Dawn.

Calling his prayer hall, a "model mosque", Iqbal said: "This is God's house. Even non-Muslims are allowed to come and seek the light."

The mosque, not only invites all sects, but also has a separate section for women, and a library filled with religious books from all sects.

The mosque is also funding study for the bachelor's degree of 10 poor but meritorious students.

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