“This is a magnificent facility, not only for Muslims but for the general community, and will be valued for generations and generations to come”, Governor of Queensland, Dr Jeannette Young said, after being taken on a tour of the construction site of the Brisbane Islamic Centre (BIC).

Donning a hard hat and high visibility jacket, the Governor was shown the rapid progress being made on the multi-million-dollar project that will eventually house a Mosque, community hall and aged-care, educational and recreational facilities.

Governor at the BIC Information Centre.

“When completed, the Islamic Centre will not only boast the largest, but more importantly, the most inclusive and all-encompassing community centre in our State for all Queenslanders,” BIC Chairman, Mr Faisal Hatia, told the Governor in his opening address.

“The Islamic Community Centre will be open to all Queenslanders and Australians at large, irrespective of race, colour or creed. It is intended to be the bridge to fostering greater harmony and understanding between all of its citizens, of this great state of ours to which we all belong and treasure,” Mr Hatia emphasized. Construction of the $20m community centre commenced 18 months ago.

The second stage of project will be the Sukoon Retirement and Aged Care Village. Sukoon is an Arabic word for “peace”. It will be Brisbane’s first Muslim retirement facility with 91 apartments plus a 30-bed aged care facility plus a medical centre and a 75-place child care centre.

Sukoon Village will cater to the needs of the rapidly growing Muslim community in the Brisbane. Development approval for the Sukoon Village was obtained last year, and plans are afoot to finalize the design proposals and commence the building next year.

In addition to meeting the needs of the community, Sukoon Village is intended to sustain the running expenses for the Community Centre well into the future. The Community Centre and Sukoon Village, together, will make BIC the largest Islamic Centre project undertaken in Australia.

Holland Park Mosque trustee, Mr Ismail Cajee, shows off the results of the recent renovations.

Earlier that morning, Dr Young visited the recently re-furbished Holland ParkMosque, now in its 115th year of existence, and was impressed with the transformation of the interior design and the care taken to preserve its heritage listing.

At the Queensland Muslim Museum.

The Governor was then taken across the road from the Mosque to visit the Queensland Muslim Historical Society’s Museum, where it’s co-founders, Dr Mustafa Ally OAM and Ms Janeth Deen OAM, gave her a potted history of the generations of Muslim participation in the development of Queensland.

She saw at first hand the modest but meticulous efforts of the society to preserve and promote Queensland’s Muslim heritage, and how they served as an educational resource for people of all backgrounds.

The Queensland Governor’s warm and caring personality alongside her enthusiastic show of support and solidarity left an indelible mark on her hosts and demonstrated a sincere acknowledgment and recognition of the cultural heritage and contributions of the Muslim community of Queensland.