Message to person who burnt mosque: 'You're always welcome'
STANDING in front of the newly refurbished section of the Toowoomba Mosque, Islamic Society of Toowoomba president Professor Shahjahan Khan said it was important to "build bridges instead of walls".
The Toowoomba man said he couldn't help but feel emotional as construction of the exterior was completed last week, years after the mosque was the target of an arson attack.
"The person who burned this mosque - we have nothing against him," Prof Khan said.
"He should realise that he has done wrong, and he will always be welcomed here."
Now that the main part of construction has been completed, Prof Khan said the focus would shift to completing the interior fittings.
"We now have to do the inside, which is plastering, painting, electrical fittings, toilets and carpeting alongside completing the car park and drive ways," Prof Khan said.
"We want to have a rain water tank so we are environmentally friendly and have solar power panels.
"However more than half of the work has been done - which is satisfying."
Until then, Mr Khan said the mosque would continue to spread his message of love over hate.
"This mosque will help to build more bridges in Toowoomba," Prof Khan said.
"The construction has given comfort; it is a building that is so valuable and precious to (the community)
"It will add to the diversity and we hope it will become an icon which brings visitors and economic benefits."
He said the Islamic Society was continuing to raise funds for the mosque's completion, which he hoped would be in the coming months.
"We will probably need another $500,000 to complete it," Prof Khan said.
"If anyone is willing to give a hand, that would be helpful."
Those looking to donate to the project can find more information on the Toowoomba Mosque Facebook page.
The police are still offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the arson.