Muslims buy site for first Sunshine Coast mosque
MUSLIMS have secured a property for their first mosque on the Sunshine Coast - in Church St, Maroochydore.
The block, formerly owned by the Uniting Church, was bought under the hammer at auction on September 4 and is next to the Catholic Church and not far down the street from the Anglican Church.
The Muslim Organisation of the Sunshine Coast (MOSC) has now begun asking on its website for funds to raise the additional "$480,000" needed by October 30 to build the masjid (mosque) on the Coast.
"By the Grace of Almighty Allah, MOSC has secured a place in the heart of Maroochydore for an Islamic centre/Musalla," it advises.
"MOSC is in the need for urgent support to settle this property by October 30.
"Donate generously to support this worthy cause and earn sadqa jaria (rewards) for the akhira (afterlife)."
Maroochydore parish priest Father Joe Duffy has extended his potential new neighbours a warm welcome, saying he was "looking forward to the inter-faith street party".
"I don't think we will mind at all," he said.
"A community like the Sunshine Coast is ready to welcome religious people from other traditions than Christian. I am sure we will be good neighbours."
The Church St site has an old double-storey building on it.
A MOSC spokesman said there were "no current plans to make any structural changes to the building and as such it will remain as it is".
Muslim authority, Haset Sali, the author of the Holy Quran Simply, said traditional mosques needed to face Mecca.
They were known for their minaret (tall, slender towers), domed roofs and calls to prayer via a loudspeaker five times a day.
But the MOSC spokesman said there would be no need for the call to prayer on a loudspeaker as "we have listed times and thus our community is aware of the prayer times, negating the need for the call for prayer".
The spokesman said MOSC has been on the Coast since 2005 and had been collecting funds from then.
It hopes to organise funds from within the community and is "looking into securing a loan from the bank".
"The property that is being purchased is mainly going to be used as an Islamic centre," he said.
"The need to own a property for a masjid is like any other religious organisation; in order to cater for the current community and the growth of the Muslim community at the Sunshine Coast.
"The centre will be used as a place of gathering for people with common beliefs.
"It will also cater for the people moving into the Sunshine Coast, such as doctors, and also for people who move to the Sunshine Coast for a short spell, such as university students and likewise.
"The centre will be open to everyone and welcomes people from all beliefs."
Realtor Dan Sowden, from Ray White Maroochydore, said seven bidders had registered on auction day and the property had sold under the hammer for $590,000 plus GST, above the reserve.