Wagga's Islamic community are looking to finally have a place they can call their own - in the form of a brand new mosque.
For the past few years, Muslim Association Riverina Wagga Wagga Australia (MARWA) has been conducting prayers and meetings in a single room at the CSU Islamic Study Centre.
But the city's Muslim population has increased from 344 people to more than 860 in the past 10 years, meaning the room isn't big enough to cater to their needs.
To solve this issue, MARWA purchased a plot of land on Jones Street in East Wagga in 2017 and has now begun preparations on the site that it is hoped will one day house a mosque.
The plot is currently little more than a pile of dirt, but MARWA vice-chair Dr Quazi Mamun hopes it will one day become the hub of Wagga's Islamic community.
"The number of Muslims in Wagga is increasing rapidly and we need a permanent place to run our activities more smoothly," Dr Mamun said.
"This mosque would be a centre of operations for us, a religious space and also a place for the community to gather."
As well as being a place of prayer, the proposed mosque would also double as the community centre for Wagga's Islamic population, with the current design including a gym, outdoor basketball court, kitchen and meeting room.
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Dr Mamun said the whole project is expected to cost around $1.5 million, with the initial phase totalling between $700,000 and $800,000.
When permitted, members of MARWA have travelled to Muslim communities in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Griffith and Albury to fundraise for the project.
Dr Mamun said the mosque has been a dream for MARWA since they established in 2009 and he hopes it is something the Wagga community would appreciate and support.
"Here at MARWA we are supporting not only the Muslim community in Wagga but the community as a whole," Dr Mamun said.
"Having a mosque would increase the bondship between Muslims in Wagga and the rest of the community."
MARWA began work levelling the site in June and are hoping to submit a development application for the building in the coming months.
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