Translator: Fatıma Nur Dinçer
Launceston is the second-largest city in the island state of Australia, Tasmania. Muslims of Tasmania are eagerly counting back the days to finally open up the doors to the new mosque being built in the city.
Some words hold greater and deeper meaning than their definitions. The dictionary definition of the word mosque is; a Muslim place of worship, whereas from an etymologic perspective it holds the meaning of a place of congregation. However, for us, as Muslims, this word holds a deeper meaning than these definitions. A mosque is sometimes home for the homeless, sometimes a stop for the traveler, and sometimes a school where kindness is taught. During the holy month of Ramadan, it holds the role of a food bank, while at other moments it is a funeral home for those who have come to the end of their time in this world. At times it is a place where marriages take place, and at other times it becomes one’s mother, a place where we find peace and tranquility. Haven gives so much meaning to mosques, it is no surprise that as Muslims we find ourselves in search of a mosque wherever we go.
The Muslim Family who moved to Tasmania
The Australian couple, Maria and Mustafa Seleem, were anguished with the fact that there were no mosques in the city of Launceston, north of Tasmania, where they had just moved to. The Muslim couple pointed out that Launceston was a perfect location for them to bring up their four children, however, the only problem was the absence of a mosque in the area. Mustafa Seleem mentioned that this news brought them sorrow, his wife Maria adds; “When we arrived in the city, our children started to ask us when we would be visiting a mosque”.
The Muslims of Tasmania
According to the Tasmania Muslim Foundation, the population of Muslims in the area has more than doubled since 2016. Figures also saw that the Muslim population in Australia has seen an increase, the census in 2011 concluded that Muslims made up 2.2% of the population, while the 2016 census showed the figure rising to 2.6%.
The foundation has taken action to cater to the need for a mosque for the increasing population of Muslims in the area. The Launceston Islamic Community has signed off on a building in hopes for it to be the first mosque in the area. The donation campaign to fund the expenses of the building to have the opening by the end of the year is ongoing. Muslims in the region are eagerly waiting for the opening of the mosque. Finally, Mariam Seleem mentioned that; “I frequently take my children around the area of the new building which is planned to be a mosque, they too are looking forward to that day.”.