Singapore's newest mosque, packed with features that are friendly to families as well as the environment, will be completed by Hari Raya Haji in September.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim revealed this yesterday while taking a tour of the Maarof Mosque building in Jurong West - which is now 90 per cent complete - alongside Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar and other Muis officials.
The mosque, originally scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, cost about $16.8 million to construct and can accommodate about 4,500 worshippers.
It will serve the needs of young families in upcoming developments in the area and has a host of family-friendly features, such as nursing rooms and a play area.
It will also have ramps and dedicated seating areas for the elderly and those with disabilities.
The 25th mosque to be funded by the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF), Maarof will serve residents and workers from Jurong West to Tuas, as well as the upcoming Wenya Industrial Estate.
It is expected to ease overcrowding at the Assyakirin Mosque in Taman Jurong and Al-Mukminin Mosque in Jurong East.
The 2,500 sq m mosque, one of the largest in Singapore, will also serve students from the nearby Nanyang Technological University.
The nearest mosques to the university are currently the ageing Pusara Aman Mosque and Al-Firdaus Mosque, which can accommodate around 200 and 500 worshippers respectively.
Located in Jurong West Street 24, the Maarof Mosque has rooms at the edges of the building to allow for natural lighting, and an ancillary block with a facade that blocks heat and glare.
"Each storey is 4.4m high and the high ceilings help provide natural ventilation," said Mr Mohamed Madeni Jais, architect with RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, which designed the building.
Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, said the building of the mosque is an example of the value of the MBMF, which all working Muslims in Singapore contribute to.
"The money raised all goes back to the community by providing them with places that meet their social and religious needs," he said.
Dr Yaacob hopes to dedicate a corner of the new mosque to the original Maarof Mosque, which served Muslims in the Kampong Glam area between 1870 and 1996.
He hoped those who served with the old mosque will attend the opening of the new one, and added that it was important to remember mosques that had served the community in the past.
"Having that sense of heritage and continuity is important," he said.