Lakemba Mosque

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Lakemba Mosque
Masjid Ali Bin Abi Talib[1]
Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb Mosque[2]
Eid Prayer at Lakemba Mosque.jpg
Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Lakemba Mosque, in October 2014
RiteSunni Islam
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusMosque
OwnershipLebanese Muslim Association
LeadershipShaykh Yahya Safi (Imam)
LocationLakemba (Sydney), New South Wales, Australia
Geographic coordinates33°54′45″S 151°04′27″E / 33.912589°S 151.074074°E / -33.912589; 151.074074Coordinates: 33°54′45″S 151°04′27″E / 33.912589°S 151.074074°E / -33.912589; 151.074074
FounderLebanese Muslim Association
Lakemba Mosque under construction in the 1970s

The Lakemba Mosque, also known as the Masjid Ali Bin Abi Talib[1] and officially the Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb Mosque,[2] is Australia's largest mosque.[3] It was the first purpose-built mosque in Sydney and is located at 71-75 Wangee Road, Lakemba. Owned and managed by the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA),[4] Lakemba Mosque and the LMA offices are situated contiguously at the same address.


A small house on the current site of Lakemba Mosque was purchased and used by the Lebanese Muslim Association from the 1960s as a place of worship. The house was demolished in the early 1970s and construction of the current building commenced. Construction lasted five years, with the mosque being completed in 1977.[5] The opening of the mosque was attended by the former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Fundraising for the mosque took place both locally and internationally, with about half the funds coming from the Middle East and the largest single donation coming from the Saudi royal family.[6] Lakemba Mosque was the second purpose-built mosque in Sydney and remains arguably Australia's most well-known and important mosque.

While historically Muslims of Lebanese heritage constituted the majority of the congregation, today people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Somali and South-East Asian backgrounds are also of significant numbers, along with a small but growing number of converts. The overwhelming majority of the congregation is either of Hanafi or Shafi'i background.

In February 2009, a Sydney Morning Herald journalist was ejected from the Lakemba mosque and the newspaper later reported that Anwar al-Awlaki spoke via phone link. A director of the mosque said that Shady Alsuleiman was in charge of organising evening youth events at the time of the sermon.[7]

Since 2014, the mosque has served as the centre of the National Mosque Open Day event.

In late 2012 Shaykh Safi told the congregation, during prayers, that they should not take part in anything to do with Christmas. A fatwa warned that, "disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path". The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, said these views did not represent the majority of Muslims in Australia.[8] Keysar Trad, former director[9] and president[10] of the LMA, said they previously greeted people with merry Christmas, "I don't know what has changed."[8]

In March 2015, adjunct professor Clive Williams at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence & Counter Terrorism wrote that Sunni Muslims did not welcome Shia Muslims at the mosque.[11]

Mosque personnel[edit]

Lakemba Mosque has a number of staff who assist in the running and maintenance of the mosque. Currently the mosque has three official Imams:

  • The Imam of Lakemba Mosque is Shaykh Yahya Safi, who worked as an Imam in Lebanon before his appointment at the Lakemba Mosque in 1996.[12] Shaykh Yahya gives the khutbah every fortnight, unless there is a visiting Shaykh from overseas.
  • The assistant Imam as of 2016 is Shaykh Mohammed Gomaa from Egypt. Shaykh Gomaa is a bilingual Imam who was trained at Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar University. He specialises in Qur'anic Commentary and alternates in giving the Friday sermon each fortnight.
  • The deputy assistant Imam, as of 2015, is Shaykh Mohamed Harby. Shaykh Mohamed is a qāriʾ from Egypt who specialises in the sciences of Qur'an which he teaches at an advanced level to students at the Lebanese Muslim Association.[citation needed]

Due its influence and significance, the mosque regularly hosts and is a first stop for visiting Islamic scholars from overseas.


The mosque offers a number of religious classes, such as in Prophetic biography, Fiqh and Aqidah. The mosque gives a platform to a number of local Shaykhs to speak and teach, such as Shaykh Wesam Charkawi.[13][14]

Several thousand worshippers normally attend weekly prayers on Fridays.[15] In 2015 around 30,000 worshippers attended Eid prayers at the mosque and in the road outside, making it one of Australia's largest eid celebrations.[16] In 2016, an estimated 40,000-50,000 attended Eid prayers.[17][18][19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ali ben Abi Taleb Mosque Lakemba - The Dictionary of Sydney". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Lakemba Mosque". Lebanese Muslim Association. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Lakemba, Australia's unofficial Muslim capital, is between two worlds". The Australian. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Mosques and Prayer Halls". Islamic Council of NSW. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2007.
  5. ^ The Lebanese Muslims Association: Sheikhs Archived 5 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 2007-01-26
  6. ^ "Mosques hooked on foreign cash lifelines". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 November 2002. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  7. ^ Jensen, Erik (15 April 2010). "Al-Qaeda at city mosque". Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ a b O'Brien, Natalie; Olding, Rachel (23 December 2012). "Lakemba Mosque removes Christmas 'fatwa' post". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Islam's man of a million comments". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 October 2002. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Muslims to stand in federal poll". The Age. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  11. ^ Williams, Clive (20 March 2015). "Ancient religious war at root of contemporary conflict in the Middle East". The Age. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  12. ^ Shaykh Yahya Safi Biography retrieved 2007-02-02 Archived 23 June 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Mercer, Phil (27 October 2014). "How anti-Muslim sentiment hit one Australian". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Unity to Flow Through Open Doors of Nation's Mosques". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Miranda Devine Spends a Day at Lakemba Mosque". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  16. ^ Kidd, Jessica (17 July 2015). "Muslims gather to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, feast to mark end of Ramadan".
  17. ^ "Calls for unity as 40,000 Australian Muslims mark end of Ramadan at Lakemba Mosque". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Muslim Leader Calls Out Rise of Far Right Political Parties as Thousands Mark End of Ramadan at Lakemba". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  19. ^ "Thousands of Worshippers Attend Lakemba Mosque to Mark the End of Ramadan". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Premier Mike Baird's Backing for Besieged Islamic Community". Retrieved 13 July 2018.


External links[edit]