Plan for mosques in all HDB estates on track for 2010
7 Jan 06
Rise in Muslims' monthly contributions makes it possible for last 2 mosques under scheme to be built
By Vivi Zainol
BY 2010, a 30-year programme to build mosques for Muslim residents in all HDB housing estates should be complete.
An increase of nearly 30 per cent in monthly contributions for the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF) has made it possible for the last two mosques under the programme to be built.
Said Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) president Alami Musa: 'Thanks to the support of the Muslim community, the monthly collection is now $410,000, up from $330,000.
'But we still need at least $21 million for the two mosques in Sengkang and Punggol.'
Mr Alami added that Muis is in the process of purchasing a 2,500 sq m piece of land for the Sengkang mosque, which will cost about $3 million. Construction will begin late this year and the mosque will be ready by the end of 2008.
Mr Alami was speaking to reporters after the first Friday prayers held at the newly opened An-Nahdhah mosque in Bishan. Last July, Muis revised the rates for the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF) contributions, when rising land and construction costs created a projected $4.5 million deficit in the programme.
The increase, ranging from $1 to $6, affected those earning above $2,000, which covers 40 per cent of 158,000 Muslim employees who contribute to the fund.
Employers of Muslims deduct part of their pay, which is collected by the Central Provident Fund Board and remitted to Muis.
Since 1975, 22 mosques have been built and as much as $105 million collected.
The average cost of building a mosque is $8 million, excluding the average $3 million cost of purchasing the land.
The new An-Nahdhah mosque, built at a cost of $8.5 million, will serve residents from Bishan, Shunfu, Sin Ming and Bright Hill HDB housing estates.
It is the only one of the 69 mosques in Singapore that has a centre to promote a better understanding of Islam to non-Muslims.
When it opens in June, the Harmony Centre will conduct activities such as seminars, dialogues and camps.
To be ready by 2008, Braddell development will help Muis build greater overseas links
By Zakir Hussain
A SINGAPORE Islamic Hub is being built in Braddell Road not just for the local Muslim community, but for others who want to learn from it as well.
The hub will feature Madrasah Al-Irsyad, a rebuilt Muhajirin Mosque and an 11-storey-high building housing the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
Muis is now going abroad and 'internationalising' some of its services, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim told reporters yesterday.
Earlier, he joined some 1,000 other Muslims who were performing the final Friday prayer at the Muhajirin Mosque before rebuilding work starts next week. The new hub will give Muis space for the new Muis Academy.
The academy will train members of the Muslim community and enable Muis to share Singapore's model of religious administration with groups from abroad.
In recent weeks alone, Muis hosted some 600 mosque officials from Terengganu keen to learn more about mosque programmes here. Muis will also be able to run courses from introductory to postgraduate level, through tie-ups with distinguished institutions like the Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
Last month, Muis announced it was collaborating with Al-Azhar on a diploma programme in Islamic Theology. A Muis statement said the decision to develop the hub was made after considering the mosque's dilapidated state, Muis' increased size and the fact that Madrasah Al-Irsyad has not had a permanent home since it was established in 1947.
The hub will also have a shared building with an underground car park, a multi-purpose hall and cafeteria.
It is expected to be ready by the end of 2008.
Yesterday's prayer was a significant occasion as the Muhajirin Mosque was the first to be built under the Mosque Building Fund in 1977.
The fund, supported by monthly deductions from the salaries of Muslim Singaporeans, has helped build 22 mosques throughout Singapore.
Said Haji Jaafar Sabar, 72, who was a member of the mosque's inaugural fund-raising committee set up in 1970: 'It's hard not to be sad, the mosque is like my second wife.''
But the retired utilities meter reader, who recalls going door to door to raise funds in the 1970s, said a rebuilt mosque would benefit the community better.
Yesterday, Dr Yaacob urged the Muslim community to continue supporting the mosque's fundraising efforts.
It still needs $5.7 million. The hub costs a total of $32.5 million.
Muis also started operations at a new location in Lorong 6, Toa Payoh.
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