Victoria’s first large-scale mosque, Omar bin Al-Khattab Mosque “Preston Mosque”,  re-opened its doors on 30 March 2022  following a $6.5million renovation and expansion mostly funded by the community. The vibrant community hub welcomed the public back into the revitalised space in the lead-up to Ramadan.

Since 1976, Preston Mosque has been the beating heart of Melbourne’s Muslim community, typically serving up to 800 people per day across the five daily prayers, and over 1,500 during the Friday congregational prayer. The additional 1175sqm expansion will make room for a further 1000 worshippers, providing a new capacity well over 2,500 people in total, and making it Victoria’s largest modern Mosque, and one of the largest in all of Australia.

Environmental sustainability was a core focus and it will have 215 solar panels to generate over 97MWh in the first year, equating to over 102 tonnes of carbon offset.

The redevelopment has coincided with a surge in active Muslim worshippers and community needs, with the Mosque estimating it welcomes over 30 different nationalities each week, while witnessing an estimated 20% percent increase in active participants – with a strong women component – since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Mosque is already well known for once being led and co-founded by the late Sheikh Fehmi Naji El-Imam, who was appointed as Grand Mufti of Australia from 2007 to 2011.

More than just a place of worship, Preston Mosque offers a wide variety of services for all community members, regardless of their faith or background. Services include a range of religious offerings such as Islamic Weddings, Islamic Funeral Services and Zakkat (almsgiving), as well as interfaith welfare events and community programs.

These programs include Mosque tours open to all, Youth Services and Games Room, Islamic Weekend School, Community Welfare Support, Educational Program and Speaker Series, Women’s Prayer Rooms, Community Groups and Dedicated Women’s Services and Community Recreational Spaces which include a café, library, and playground. Preston Mosque also hosts regular community festivals and events, aimed at creating a sense of social integration and harmony amongst the community.

Islamic Society of Victoria President, Tarek Khodr said,For as long as I can remember, Preston Mosque has been a hub for many things – a place of gathering, prayer and learning, and a place for all people. We’re excited to unveil the new redeveloped Preston Mosque, and to welcome our community back to celebrate Ramadan in this special place that means so much to so many.”

“ The Mosque is much more than just a place of worship for many. It’s a place where new migrants can come and connect with work services, we run Domestic Violence programs and Mental Health education; this is a true 21st century Mosque.”

“We’re proud to be known as a central, safe and vibrant hub for Melbourne’s Muslim community, but we also pride ourselves on being a sanctuary for all. No matter your faith or background, Preston Mosque welcomes you, and hopes to educate and support through our comprehensive service offerings.”

The Independent Chair of the ISV Building Committee, Moustafa Fahour OAM, said“Rebuilding one of Victoria’s first and most well-known Mosques was an honour, but it came with significant responsibility.”

“Our philosophy was focused on retaining the architectural elements of the mosque and its multicultural history in its original build, however accommodating for the growing needs and services of Muslims in Victoria.”

“The design leveraged its existing architectural element, while introducing traditional Quranic calligraphy across the mosque, with Islamic geometric art, LED lighting, bronze featured elements inside, and the restoration of the original dome, wrapped in green cladding.”

While the much-needed expansion and redevelopment has brought the mosque into the 21st century, historical features like the original and striking 18-tonne dome and tall Minaret remain. Significant cultural references such as Islamic geometric patterns, traditional calligraphy, Islamic Art and carpets imported from Turkey can be seen throughout the mosque, as well as an Imam prayer area made from bronze.

To find out more about Preston Mosque, please visit The Islamic Society of Victoria: https://isv.org.au/