When many refugees came to Sweden during 2014-2015, the Al Rahma mosque in Näsby became crowded. During the Friday prayer, many people were forced to sit outside in the cold. So the association decided it was time to extend the mosque.
The association hired an engineer to draw up how the mosque could be expanded. Then the municipality granted building permission for the project. But funding was a problem. The association received donations from people who come to the mosque.
– In about a year we were able to raise a respectable sum, but the company wanted more than eight million, and we couldn't manage that, says Shaaban Abou Zur, Imam at the mosque in Kristianstad.
But they accepted a bid of five million. They agreed that they could expand gradually, step by step, according to what the association could afford.
The mosque used to have the area of 440 square metres. Now the total area is 740 square metres.
– We have a larger hall for prayer from the Qibla (direction facing Mecca) and the sides facing the streets, a new room for administration, and another toilet, doors from the inner courtyard and a new door on to the street, says Shaaban Abou Zur.
On the upper floor is a place of prayer for women. In addition, there is another room for women on the ground floor.
– Only men attend the everyday prayer, there are usually no women. Not many women go to Friday prayers because it's only obligatory for men to attend, says Shaaban Abou Zur.
How could you raise money?
– We received five million in almost five years in gifts from donors who usually come to the mosque. All the money came from donors in Kristianstad. We are careful about that, assures Shaaban Abou Zur.
The only authority that helped them was the ”Myndighet för stöd till trossamfund ” (the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities). The association received 1,330,000 crowns from them.
– We have to thank all the volunteers who performed most of the jobs in the redevelopment. It was the association's own members and others who helped out. In addition, we also got some things donated to us, like the new carpets, says Shaaban Abou Zur.
There are only small things left before everything is ready. The municipality will conduct an inspection and give its approval.
The Islamic Association in Kristianstad started in 1994.
The land on which the mosque stands was purchased in 2008. The building formerly belonged to Jehovah's Witnesses (Christian faith community).
During the Friday prayer, there will be about 500 men and some women