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Building a New Mosque in Chiba

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The plot of land purchased today in Chishirodai

SNA (Chiba) — A Tokyo-based Islamic religious group today purchased a plot of land in Chiba Prefecture where it plans to build a new mosque. The location is in Chishirodai, Wakaba Ward, on the outskirts of Chiba City. The new facility is expected to be named Kuba Mosque.

The religious organization which purchased the land is the Japan Islamic Trust, which has operated since the late 1990s out of Otsuka Mosque in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward. The new mosque in Chishirodai will become this religious organization’s seventh mosque or musallah (prayer room) in Japan, with the others located in Shibuya (Tokyo), Ashikaga (Tochigi Prefecture), Hitachi (Ibaraki Prefecture), Tottori (Tottori Prefecture), and Nishi-Kasai (Tokyo). Moreover, an eighth facility, which will be a musallah near Nakano Station in Tokyo, has also just been rented.

Aside from the soon-to-be-eight facilities run by the Japan Islamic Trust, there are thought to be almost one hundred other mosques and musallahs throughout Japan operated by other groups and organizations.

According to Mulaffar Mohamed Riffthi, a Sri Lankan automobile exporter who made the local arrangements for purchasing the land and is the main practical organizer for the project, the new mosque in Chishirodai will serve a local Muslim community of about seventy people, who currently have to drive about thirty minutes to visit the closest existing mosque. This community is predominantly Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Ghanaian. Like Riffthi, most of them are businessmen involved in the automobile export industry.

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Officials of Japan Islamic Trust sign the land ownership documents

Riffthi says that he is aiming to have the mosque’s construction completed within a year.

Mohamed Mafaz, a Sri Lankan who is expected to become the first imam of the Chishirodai mosque, says that his first goal is to teach the community a deeper appreciation of what he calls “the real Islam” and in this way to build stronger relations with Japanese society by removing misunderstandings.

“If you compare Japan to many other countries,” Mafaz states, “you feel that this is a blessed land and we don’t feel that there are any serious problems for Muslims here.”

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