SINGAPORE - Community leaders of all races came together on Friday (March 14) to celebrate the opening of Yusof Ishak Mosque, named after Singapore's first president.
The opening ceremony was officiated by the former president's widow, Madam Noor Aishah, and witnessed by guests including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, grassroots leaders, inter-religious confidence circle leaders and Members of Parliament from both sides of the House.
Mosque chairman Ayub Johari said in a speech that the mosque was special because it embodies the values of Mr Yusof, who was a firm believer and champion of racial and religious harmony and multi-culturalism.
Addressing a crowd that included Muslims and non-Muslims, he said: "This is what it means to be living in multi-racial and multi-religious Singapore. It is something special, it is something meaningful and it is something we must all cherish."
Earlier, Mufti Mohamed Fatris Bakaram, Singapore's highest Islamic authority, consecrated the prayer space and led the Friday prayers for worshippers.
The mosque in Woodlands, built at a cost of $18 million, has a capacity for 4,500 worshippers.
It is the 26th mosque to be built under the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund programme.
PM Lee had announced during the 2014 National Day Rally that the mosque would be named after Mr Yusof to honour his contributions to the country and as a larger move to better acknowledge the efforts of Singapore's pioneers.
Mr Yusof, whose portrait has been on Singapore currency notes since 1999, served as Yang di-Pertuan Negara after Singapore gained self-government in 1959, and as president in 1965. He died in office in 1970.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said that the design of the mosque blends traditional mosque characteristics with features of a tropical Malay house.
The mosque has facilities to cater to the needs of the elderly, as well as more spaces for families to pray.
Other features include a multi-purpose hall, a conference room, a sizeable auditorium, seminar rooms for teaching purposes and a roof terrace.