28 February 2011 The first mosque featuring a Chinese architectural design is to be built in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur at an estimated cost of RM100 million has the potential to become a tourist attraction. Chinese Malaysians who have embraced Islam have been pushing the government for years for a Chinese-style mosque that reflects their community, but have in the past always been turned down. The authorities argued that having separate mosques would segregate Muslims and could anger the majority Malays, who by definition are Muslims. Now Malaysia has had a full change of heart. At a ceremony Monday heralding the mosque-building project, the wife of Malaysia's prime minister, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, said the mosque and an Islamic Cultural Complex, to be built at Jalan Davis by the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma), would not only stand as a landmark for the uniqueness of Islam but also demonstrate that Islam was for all. "A unique, systematic and planned approach to Islamic propagation through various methodologies is a new dimension which has to be highlighted," she said at the presentation of awards and certificates to winners of a contest to design the mosque and complex, here. Also present were Datin Nafesah Raja Nong Chik, wife of the Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister, and Macma President Datuk Dr Mustapha Ma. From the 58 entries received, 11 were shortlisted and two companies -- Zon Design Rekabina Sdn Bhd and Ang Wen Hsia and Ang Boo Chung -- were selected to receive the outstanding design awards. The Macma mosque will be the first in Kuala Lumpur to sport a Chinese design. Rosmah said the mosque and complex would apply fresh ideas derived from Islamic historical information and narration, beginning with the voyage of Admiral Cheng Ho to the Malay archipelago. She also said that many mosques in the country had great potential to be tourist attractions, such as the National Mosque, the Federal Territory Mosque, the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, and the floating Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque and Crystal Mosque in Terengganu. Dr Mustapha said the cost of putting up the Macma mosque was estimated at RM100 million. "The government has announced a RM1 million contribution for the project. We hope that the Islamic religious councils, particularly of the Federal Territory, and private companies will assist us," he said.
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