Faith to build bridges


Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Jaime Shurmer

AUS­TRALIA’S youngest Imam is com­mit­ted to break­ing down bar­ri­ers, of­fer­ing to buy a cof­fee for any­one who wants to ask him about his faith.

The of­ten vo­cal Imam Kam­ran Tahir (26), who hails from Lon­don, was brought over from Syd­ney five months ago to lead the Ah­madiyyah Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion in Cock­burn.

The group plans to trans­form the old ice rink site on Bar­ring­ton Street into a mosque, with an ap­pli­ca­tion re­ceiv­ing plan­ning ap­proval from the City of Cock­burn’s plan­ning depart­ment.

Plan­ning and devel­op­ment ser­vices di­rec­tor Daniel Arndt said a place of wor­ship was an ac­cept­able use with the area’s light and ser­vice in­dus­try zon­ing and there was no statu­tory re­quire­ment for the change of use to be ad­ver­tised.

“The ap­pli­ca­tion, re­ceived by the City on Oc­to­ber 26, 2016, com­plied with all of the City’s statu­tory plan­ning re­quire­ments and was granted ap­proval un­der del­e­gated au­thor­ity,” he said. “There are no spe­cial or dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments for an ap­pli­ca­tion for a place of wor­ship.

“It is dealt with in the same man­ner as any other plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion and re­li­gion does not form part of the plan­ning as­sess­ment.”

Fur­ther ap­provals would be re­quired to use the venue as a place of wor­ship, along with any build­ing ap­provals needed to con­vert the premises to their needs.

Two public protests re­cently held by mem­bers of Face­book group Ban the Cock­burn Mega Mosque have not de­terred Imam Kam­ran’s ef­forts from build­ing bridges with the Perth com­mu­nity.

He has con­ducted ‘I’m a Mus­lim, ask me any­thing’ cam­paigns and said he was al­ways happy for a chat over a cof­fee. He said 35,000 Mus­lims re­cently pledged al­le­giance to peace at a con­ven­tion in Lon­don.

Imam Kam­ran Tahir.

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