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Indonesian Community in London Raises Funds to Build Their Own Mosque

May 1, 2021, 07.57 PM

LONDON, - Muslims in Great Britain might breathe a sigh of relief, as lockdown restrictions in the country are eased in time for them to worship communally in mosques during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

But for Indonesian Muslims in London, that joy is dampened by the awareness that they do not have a mosque of their own.

However, they hope to make a difference in this year's Ramadan, as they carried out a concerted effort to raise funds to build a mosque and Indonesian Islamic Centre (IIC).

The need to build a mosque came about, as Indonesian Muslims in the British capital realized that the current IIC in Wakemans Hill Avenue in North London can only accommodate up to 100 people.

Also read: The Absence of Indonesia in 2021 All England Open

Since its founding in 2003, the two-story house has become a place for the community to gather, carry out weekly praying recitations, provide religious education for children, interpret the surahs, and be an outlet for the arts.

However, the growing community became aware of the need for their own mosque in London.

"The existing facilities in Wakemans Hill Avenue are no longer adequate," said IIC construction committee chairman Eko Kurniawan said in a press release dated Thursday, April 29.

"Since it is a house located in a residential area, the permit is limited to residential activities, not for the public or communities. As a result, we cannot make the most of social activities in this community."

Hamim Syaaf, an Indonesian who has lived in London for decades, said the number of Indonesians in Britain continues to increase. "We clearly need a place that can accommodate the growing Congregations,” he said.

Limitations from the permit and inadequate facilities for religious activities prompted stalwarts in the Indonesian Muslim community to form the committee to construct a new mosque, which they aim to bring about soon.

The Indonesian Islamic Centre in North London (Photo courtesy of  Indonesian Islamic Centre]Dok. Indonesian Islamic Centre The Indonesian Islamic Centre in North London (Photo courtesy of Indonesian Islamic Centre]

The committee plans to sell the house on Wakemans Hill Avenue and to use the proceeds to buy land to build their mosque on. 

Based on the committee's calculations, the Wakemans Hill Avenue property is worth around Rp10.076 billion (£500,000 ). The committee also has funds of Rp5.038 billion (£250,000) in donations from private citizens in the UK, Indonesia and other countries.

"We estimate that we will need £750,000-1.25 million [Rp. 14.2-23.7 billion] to build the mosquen," Eko explained.

But he is optimistic that Indonesian Muslims in London can have a mosque to call their own, as his plan is supported by the Indonesian Embassy in London and the Indonesian Diaspora.


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