Mosque reopens after elderly friendly revamp

SINGAPORE - Marsiling's An-Nur mosque was officially reopened on Friday following a $7.2 million renovation that has made it more elderly friendly.

The 33-year-old building now has features such as ramps, a lift, handicapped toilets and a main level without steps.

Before the work was done, elderly congregation members had to walk up and down a small flight of stairs to get to the main prayer hall. The mosque can now accommodate about 6,000 worshippers, many of whom are over 60. This is nearly double the 3,500 people it could hold before.

Upgrading work began in January 2011, with more classrooms, two multi-purpose halls and a library added for community and family-based activities.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim officially reopened An-Nur yesterday.

"I've always believed that in the next phase of our mosque development, we should pay attention to the experience of being in a mosque," he said.

"Our mosques must be seen as a place of refuge, not only a space for you to do your worship and religious practices but also to enhance your spirituality."

An-Nur is one of six places of worship that are part of phase one of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's (Muis) Mosque Upgrading Programme.

Its reopening means four of them have now been fully renovated.

Muis president Alami Musa said work on the remaining mosques in phase one would be completed over this year and the next.

Phase two, which involves 16 more mosques, has also begun. Construction on the new Punggol mosque is due to start later this year.

Work has also begun on purchasing the land for two new mosques to be built in Woodlands and Jurong West, said Mr Alami.

Mosque-goer Mohd Anwari Mohd Ibrahim, 68, who is semi-retired, said he was pleased with the "very spacious and elderly friendly" facilities at An-Nur. "When I walk in, it's bright and airy," he said. "It's a lot better now and it's a nice Ramadan gift for Muslims in Woodlands."

maryamm@sph.com.sg


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