Imam de­fends mosque plans

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Bryce Luff

A LO­CAL Is­lamic leader says he will “give up ev­ery­thing that I prac­tise” if even one con­nec­tion is made be­tween his com­mu­nity and ter­ror ac­tiv­ity.

“That’s how cer­tain I am that there has never been any­thing that would or could link ex­trem­ism or rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion to the Ah­madiyya Com­mu­nity,” Imam Kam­ran Tahir said.

The Ah­madiyya Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion came un­der fire af­ter it re­vealed plans to con­vert the old Cock­burn Ice Arena on Bar­ring­ton Street into a mosque with a prayer hall, li­brary, sports hall and of­fices. Re­spond­ing to con­cerns Ah­madiyya Mus­lims were po­ten­tially linked with ter­ror ac­tiv­ity, Imam Kam­ran Tahir said he would step down if any were found.

“The Ah­madiyya com­mu­nity it­self be­lieves in the motto ‘Love for all, ha­tred for none’ and we stick to the teach­ings of the Qu­ran that states there is no com­pul­sion in re­li­gion and you are to re­spect each other’s faiths,” he said.

“You will never find any links from within the Ah­madiyya com­mu­nity to any ex­trem­ism or any rad­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“I will read­ily be able to give up ev­ery­thing that I prac­tise if even one ex­am­ple of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion or ex­trem­ism is found from our com­mu­nity.”

His com­ments came af­ter he re­vealed he would wel­come cam­eras at the mosque, al­low­ing author­i­ties to mon­i­tor what was hap­pen­ing there, if it would ad­dress any ap­pre­hen­sion.

Mr Tahir said the Bibra Lake mosque was not part of a bid to con­vert peo­ple to Is­lam but would help re­move the mis­con­cep­tions that sur­rounded the re­li­gion and its 150 Perth mem­bers.

The 26-year-old said Ah­madiyya mem­bers were gen­er­ous mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

He said the as­so­ci­a­tion raised thou­sands of dol­lars for the Red Cross each year and took part in events such as Na­tional Tree Day and Clean Up Aus­tralia Day, and held An­zac Day dawn ser­vices to honour veter­ans.

He said ter­ror­ist at­tacks, in­clud­ing those in Lon­don and Manch­ester, had prompted his bid to be com­pletely trans­par­ent.

“A lot of peo­ple have never sat down with a Mus­lim to ask them if that is what is Is­lam is,” he said.

“I fol­low what Is­lam ac­tu­ally teaches, rather than what is por­trayed by these dis­gust­ing rad­i­cals and ex­trem­ists.”

Cock­burn plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment ser­vices di­rec­tor Daniel Arndt said the Ah­madiyya ap­pli­ca­tion had been dealt with in the same fash­ion as any other.

“At this stage there is no ev­i­dence that ap­prov­ing this build­ing as a place of pub­lic wor­ship would have an ad­verse im­pact on the area,” he said.

Imam Kam­ran Tahir.

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