There are thousands of Muslims in Macao, but the city’s one tiny mosque has been in serious disrepair for decades. Imam Ding Shaojie recently told the Portuguese news agency Lusa that his community had looked forward to a new mosque for a “very, very” long time, and that construction finally appeared to be on the cards for 2024.
“We hope to have the Government’s approval to start construction very soon”, he said.
The new mosque will be built on the same site as the old, in Ramal dos Mouros. But it will be significantly larger – 1,250 square-metres – and reportedly able to accommodate 600 worshippers at a time.
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Because the current mosque is so small, Ding said that during major religious observances like Eid, Macao’s Muslims often had to pray outside or in temporary shelters set up on the mosque grounds.
The original mosque’s main structure was built in the early 1850s, by and for the Portuguese Army’s Muslim garrison, who were recruited from India. The site is also home to an Islamic cemetery.
There is no official data on the number of Muslims living in Macao, but Imam Ding puts it somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000. Most belong to the city’s sizable population of Indonesian non-resident workers.