MURDOCH University is planning to build a donation-funded new Muslim Cultural Centre for Muslim students.

Currently in the planning stages, the Muslim Cultural Centre project would cost an estimated $6 million and would be built near the university’s existing multi-faith worship centre.

The Murdoch University Muslim Students’ Association (MUMSA) came up with the idea and with the help of project leader Professor David Macey were able to sign an official agreement with the university to start the project.

Professor Macey said the growing number of Muslim students at the school meant the current worship centre was no longer big enough to service their needs and those of other faith groups.

“So many different faith groups now use the worship centre that there are also problems with simply fitting everybody into a different timeslot,” he said.

He said there were several reasons why there were so many Muslim students using the current centre.

“Many are, of course, international students and so do not have ties to the local faith-based communities in the same way that many of our local students do.”

“The Muslim main day of worship is a Friday, which of course at Murdoch is a normal teaching day, and so Muslim students have to mix prayer with university attendance.”

The new centre will feature separate prayer areas for men and women, ablution facilities and a communal space.

It would likely be linked to the existing worship centre and be open to members of all faiths.

MUMSA president Sa’ad Moied said the association was excited about the project and pleased to be working with the university on a fundraising appeal.

“The centre will provide somewhere for prayer, which is an important part of Muslim life, and also be a focus for communal activities such as the breaking of the fast during Ramadan,” he said.

MUMSA vice-president Mais Zaher said MUMSA was dedicated to promoting a better and more accurate understanding of Islam as a way of life.

“We aim to maximise social interaction, unification and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim members of the Murdoch community and this centre will help us do that by providing space for learning and discussion,” she said.