1. Strategies for the development of places of worship (musollah).
The ﬁrst two dominant themes are encapsulated in the Qur’anic injunction:
This theme involves:
- Changing the perception of mosques as only places of prayer only for men, to a perception of mosques as community centers for families, for social gatherings as well as for positive forms of recreation. In this respect, RISEAP, in cooperation with the Muslim Religious Council of Singapore, has a three-year training program for RISEAP representatives to be trained in Singapore on ideas of mosque design and space allocation to enable mosques to accommodate families, educational programs, recreational programs and user-friendly features that make mosques more appealing as community centres. The ﬁrst of this training program was implemented in September 2016 and the second program is expected after Ramadan 2017.
- Making it more convenient for working Muslims to ﬁnd places of prayer near their places of work. It has been the experience of RISEAP that cooperation with non-Muslim Governments, as well as with sympathetic non-Muslims, has made it possible to make rapid progress in the development of places of prayer in airports (most international airports in Japan, Taiwan have developed places of prayer), train and MRT stations (in Japan and in Taiwan), well-known large shopping centres (in Japan and Bangkok), university campuses (in Taiwan) and hospitals in Muslim-minority countries such as Japan, Taiwan and Bangkok.
- Taking into account population growth and movements in the planning of places of prayer. The presence of Muslim workers, students and migrants have added to the pressure of providing adequate places of prayer in cities, towns and industrial estates. Hong Kong Government statistics indicate that in 2010, there were a total of 140,720 foreign domestic workers from Indonesia who were working in Hong Kong. According to the Islamic Union of Hong Kong, there are over 10,000 Muslim workers (from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Indonesia) in Macau. According to the National Immigration Agency of Taiwan, there were 144,651 Indonesians residing in Taiwan. According to the Korean Ministry of Justice, in 2014, there were 46,945 Indonesians, 14,644 Bangladeshis and 11,209 Pakistanis in South Korea. Japanese Government statistics indicate that there were 35,567 Indonesians, 11,414 Bangladeshis and 14,263 Pakistanis residing in Japan. In 1981, Government census indicates that there were 76,792 Muslims residing in Australia. By 2011, the number of Muslims residing in Australia had grown to 476,291. In 2013, there were 21,208 Malaysians, 17,131 Indonesians, and 12,869 Pakistanis who were enrolled in Australian educational institutions. Signiﬁcant migration of Muslims to Australia and New Zealand, as well as the presence of Muslim workers in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore has created a need to re-plan adequate places of worship to cater for these population changes.