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, who hails from London, arrived 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 by 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 Light and Service Industry zone of the area, and there was no statutory requirement for the change of use to be advertised.
“The application, received by the City on 26 October, 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 its needs.
Two public protests recently conducted by members of Facebook group Ban the Cockburn Mega Mosque – set up in opposition to the mosque plans – have not deterred Imam Kamran’s efforts to build bridges with the community.
The latest census showed 2 per cent of the population were Muslim with the majority in the eastern states, he said.
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, and in Pakistan Ahmadiyya are classed as non-Muslims because their beliefs differ, believing there is no need for Holy War concept and the Messiah will return in a spiritual form.