Lakemba Mosque

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Lakemba Mosque
Masjid Ali Bin Abi Taleb
Eid Prayer at Lakemba Mosque.jpg
Basic information
Location Lakemba (Sydney), New South Wales, Australia
Affiliation Sunni Islam
Status Active
Leadership Shaykh Yahya Safi (Imam)
Website Lakemba Mosque
Architectural description
Architectural type Mosque
Founder Lebanese Muslim Association
Completed 1977
Lakemba Mosque under construction in the 1970s

Part of a series on
Islam in Australia

Eid Prayer at Lakemba Mosque.jpg


Early history
Afghan cameleers
Battle of Broken Hill
Contemporary society
Halal certification in Australia
Islamophobia in Australia


List of mosques
Lakemba Mosque · Auburn Gallipoli Mosque
Central Adelaide Mosque • Marree Mosque


Islamic organisations in Australia


Afghan • Albanian • Arab • Bangladeshi
Bosnian • Indian • Indonesian • Iranian
Iraqi • Lebanese • Malay • Pakistani •


National Mosque Open Day

Prominent Australian Muslims
Ibrahim Abu Mohamed

Lakemba Mosque (also known as Masjid Ali Bin Abi Taleb) is reportedly Australia's largest mosque.[1][2][3][4][5]

Lakemba Mosque is the first purpose-built mosque in Sydney and is located in the suburb of Lakemba, Sydney. The mosque is owned and managed by the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA).[6] The Lakemba Mosque and the LMA are co-located in Wangee Road, Lakemba.


The Lebanese Muslim Association commenced construction of the mosque in 1972, with it being completed in 1977,[7] with about half of the funds coming from the Middle East and the largest donation coming from the Saudi royal family.[8] It was the first purpose-built mosque in Sydney and remains Australia's most well-known 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.

Mosque Personnel[edit]

Lakemba Mosque has a number of staff who assist in the running and maintenance of the mosque.

Currently the mosque has two official Imams:

  • The Imam of Lakemba Mosque is Shaykh Yahya Safi, who worked as an Imam in Lebanon before his appointment at the of Lakemba Mosque in 1996.[9] Shaykh Yahya gives the khutbah each week, unless there is a visiting Shaykh from overseas.
  • The 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]

The mosque and its operations are overseen by a committee.


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.[10][11]

Several thousand worshippers normally attend weekly prayers on Fridays.[12] In 2015 around 30,000 worshippers attended Eid prayers at the mosque and in the road outside, making it one of Austrailia's largest eid celebrations.[13]

Wider community[edit]

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.[14]

There was controversy in late 2012 after 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.[15] Keysar Trad, former director[16] and president[17] of the LMA, said they previously greeted people with merry Christmas, "I don't know what has changed."[15]

Clive Williams, adjunct professor at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence & Counter Terrorism says that Shia muslims are not welcomed at the mosque.[18]

The mosque is not a supporter of marriage equality with Shaykh Safi saying, "it's a major sin to have such relations between men and men, a sexual relation."[19] Similarly there is not gender equality, with women having to go to a second floor and remain behind tinted glass.[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrew Wilkie (1 Sep 2010). Axis of Deceit: The Extraordinary Story of an Australian Whistleblower. Black Inc. p. 130. ISBN 9781921825699. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Richard; Murphy, Eamon; Poynting, Scott, eds. (10 Sep 2009). Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Practice. Routledge. p. 181. ISBN 9781135245160. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Mosques and Prayer Halls". Islamic Council of NSW. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
  7. ^ The Lebanese Muslims Association: Sheikhs retrieved 2007-01-26
  8. ^ "Mosques hooked on foreign cash lifelines". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 November 2002. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Shaykh Yahya Safi Biography retrieved 2007-02-02 Archived 23 June 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kidd, Jessica (17 July 2015). "Muslims gather to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, feast to mark end of Ramadan". ABC. 
  14. ^ Jensen, Erik (15 April 2010). "Al-Qaeda at city mosque". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  15. ^ a b O'Brien, Natalie; Olding, Rachel (23 December 2012). "Lakemba Mosque removes Christmas 'fatwa' post". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  16. ^ "Islam's man of a million comments". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 October 2002. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  17. ^ "Muslims to stand in federal poll". The Age. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  18. ^ Williams, Clive (20 March 2015). "Ancient religious war at root of contemporary conflict in the Middle East". The Age. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Sheik Yahya Safi, head imam at Lakemba mosque, said same-sex marriage wasn't an issue in the Islamic community". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  20. ^ Howden, Saffron (25 October 2015). ""Muslims really aren't this 'other', nefarious group"". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  21. ^ Devine, Miranda (31 May 2013). "Miranda Devine spends a day at Lakemba Mosque". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 

External links[edit]