$200k raised to rebuild Toowoomba mosque
THE Sydney Islamic community have donated close to $200,000 towards rebuilding the Garden City mosque during a week-long fundraising effort.
Members of the Toowoomba Islamic Society travelled to Sydney at the end of November to visit mosques and host a fundraising dinner where they spoke about the after-effects of the 2015 arson attacks.
It is predicted 300 people attended the fundraising dinner held at The Highline in Bankstown and they were enthralled by president of the Toowoomba Islamic Society Professor Shahjahan Khan's speech about the kindness of residents following the attack.
Prof Khan said many in the crowd were inspired by the goodwill gesture of a wheelchair-bound Toowoomba woman, who appeared at the mosque entrance the morning after the attack to offer her help.
"People were impressed by the story of this lady, who was not a Muslim, but had so much feeling for her community," he said.
"It was great to reach out to people in the Sydney community and let them know of the positive things happening in Toowoomba such as the peaceful co-existence and the respect of diversity.
"I don't think many people know about this outside of Toowoomba, so it was a great way to promote the city as a place of peace and harmony."
Several scholars and religious leaders spoke at the event, and guests donated money and items to be auctioned.
Before this, the Toowoomba leaders were given a 30-minute slot to speak on an Islamic radio show.
"As we finished the show there were two people in the studio's foyer who had heard our interview and were waiting to donate $1000," Prof Khan said.
"It was a touching moment."
He said the money collected would go towards the next stage of building, which includes the placement of carpet, painting and the refurbishment of the car park.
The project has neared the half-way mark, with contractors starting work on the mosque's roof.
Prof Khan thanked the community for its "invaluable" contribution. They have estimated the cost of the rebuild will come to $890,000.