Built with funds from the Shillong Muslim Union, many Hindus have also helped in building the Madina Masjid, which is reaching out to people of all faiths.
Madina Masjid, an imposing and resplendent structure of glass dome and glass minarets, was formally opened last fortnight in Meghalaya’s capital. “It is an architectural marvel,” said Congress legislator Sayeedullah Nongrum. “It took us one and a half years to complete the only glass mosque in India and the largest one in the north-eastern region,” said Nongrum, who is also general secretary of the Shillong Muslim Union (SMU). The four-storey building, 120 feet high and 61 feet wide, stands inside an Idgah Complex in the
city’s Lahan area and is close to the garrison grounds along the Umshyrpi river. At night, the mosque’s glasswork glows and glitters. The mosque houses a new orphanage named Meherba, a library and a ‘markaz.’ Nongrum said the new theological institute, Markaz, would impart Islamic teachings and the library there would have books on comparative religious studies. Madina Masjid can accommodate 2,000 people and has separate space for women to offer prayers. Around Rs.2 crore was spent on the building, with fund from SMU and wellwishers, he said. Nongrum said most of the people who built the mosque were Hindus. About 51 boys and girls are already in an orphanage in the complex and go to a primary school in the Idgah complex established in 1942. In 2008, the Idgah was the first in the region to open doors to women. “When our women go to the market, we men do not object. So, why cannot women go to a ‘masjid’ and offerprayers? Why fanatics object to it?” says Nongrum. The Shillong Muslim Union was formed in 1905 in erstwhile East Bengal, which stretched from Siliguri to Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong to Dibrugarh. After India’s partition in 1947, SMU narrowed down its activities to Assam. Since Meghalaya’s formation in 1972, its activities have been limited to the state. (IANS) (Photo by Two Circles.Net)