Mosque built in memory of victims who perished in MH17 tragedy
Published on: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
By: Bernama

KUCHING: May 13, 2019, has become a significant date for the family of MH17 plane crash victims Tambi Jiee and his wife, Ariza Ghazalee, when a mosque they built from the incident’s compensation money was opened to the public Tuesday

The modern, grey Masjid Al Ghazali located at Jalan Depo, Petra Jaya here cost RM3.5 million, built largely from the compensation money received over the deaths of the family of six when the plane they were in was shot down while flying over the Ukrainian-Russian border on July 17, 2014.

Besides Tambi and his wife Ariza, their four children Muhammad Afif, Muhammad Afzal, Marsha Azmeena and Muhammad Afruz were also killed in the tragedy.

Speaking to Bernama on how the idea for the mosque came about, chairman of the mosque, Sumardi Ghazalee who was Ariza’s youngest brother said it was their mother who wanted to see the compensation money used for something that would benefit the deceased family.

 “The idea came from our mother who wanted to put the compensation money to good use and during a family discussion, the idea to build a surau came up but its location had yet to be decided.

 “At the same time, I heard of a site in this area which had been approved for a surau but no plans had been made to build it, and we contacted the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department (JAIS),” Sumardi, an architect in Kuching, said.

In fact, Sumardi himself designed the mosque and devoted his efforts to fulfilling his family’s wish.

“We were sad when we received the news of their deaths, but we hope that the compensation money will be a way for us to help them in the hereafter.

“So we, the siblings, unanimously agreed to build this mosque and hope it will be used by the local community and be a form of continuous reward for the deceased,” he said.

Sumardi said the mosque was largely built by the compensation money while the remainder came from public donations as well as contributions from the Sarawak State Government.

“The initial planning was made in the first construction committee meeting in 2015, while  construction started in 2017, so in total, it took four years to be completed,” he said.

Sumardi added that many programmes have been planned for the mosque including fardu ain classes, Quran recital classes for people of all walks of life and activities will be held with the Madrasah Darul Ulum Islamiyah Kuching.

So far, he said, no permanent imam and bilal have been appointed as the mosque has not yet  obtained JAIS permission to hold Friday prayers.

“So we do not have any provision for it yet and all the responsibilities of imam, bilal and other posts are currently performed by volunteer ustaz from the congregation.

“We are still in the process of getting permission to hold Friday prayers, but there are a few criteria which need to be fulfilled, for instance,  approval will only be granted when other mosques around the area are unable to accommodate their congregation for Friday prayers,” he said.

On the maintenance of the mosque, Sumardi said the management hoped to get donations from the congregation as well as using its own funds.

“We decided to open this mosque during this blessed month so that the people who come for Tarawih prayers will continue to come after the Ramadan month is over,” he said.

The mosque can accommodate up to 1,000 people at one time while the main prayer hall can take up to 300 people.

Other facilities in the mosque including a funeral management room and residence for the yet-to-be appointed imam.

The management is planning to invite the Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for the official opening of the mosque which would possibly be in the month of Syawal.



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