New mosque in Punggol opens

New mosque in Punggol opens
The mufti of Singapore, Dr Fatris Bakaram, leading Friday prayers at the new Al-Islah Mosque in Punggol yesterday. Dr Yaacob Ibrahim joined the worshippers in the prayers (front row, fourth from right).

THE long-awaited Al-Islah Mosque in Punggol was officially opened yesterday, two weeks ahead of the start of the fasting month.

With room for 4,000 worshippers, the mosque at the junction of Punggol Place and Punggol Field will help ease the crunch in prayer spaces in eastern Singapore. It has a family prayer room and a community roof garden to meet the needs of young families in the area.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim told reporters after Friday prayers that mosques have to take into account the community's evolving needs and concerns.

Al-Islah is the 24th mosque built under the Mosque Building Fund, initiated 40 years ago to tap contributions from working Muslims.

As the construction of new mosques slows, Dr Yaacob said new ways to use the fund to benefit the community will be looked at, such as upgrading existing mosques to meet changes in population and demography.

Three new mosques are being built: Maarof Mosque in Jurong, Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands and one in Tampines North.

Upgrading works at older mosques are also under way, with lifts being installed in some to benefit elderly worshippers.

Al-Islah could strengthen community ties and be a venue for youth to get correct information about religion, Dr Yaacob said.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, was at the opening yesterday.

Mosque chairman Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah said the mosque organised guided tours last weekend for people of all races and religions to have a look around the five-storey building, and is considering more such tours after Ramadan ends.

"It is a good way to share what the mosque is about, what the religion is about, to listen to any of their ideas or opinions. It goes both ways," he said.

It is also hoping to engage more youth. He added: "We want to (help them) understand the right ways of Islam."

This article was first published on June 6, 2015.
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