Pakistan’s first sect-free mosque calls for end to discrimination

Darul Iman Jamia Masjid Qurtuba’s story is as dramatic as the sectarian history of Pakistan.

The newly-built mosque in Islamabad’s Margalla foothills is calling upon its followers to stop discriminating along sectarian lines and to start praying together – in whichever way they like – under the same roof.

Zahid Iqbal is a local businessman who conceptualised the idea of a sect-free mosque in 2010. He bought the mosque plot in the E-11 sector. But the road to the realisation of his dream wasn’t easy: At first, authorities refused to register it as a sect-free mosque. Under Capital Development Authority rules, every mosque has to declare its sect following, before being granted permission to build the mosque.

The procedure involved some complicated maneuvering: To bypass the strict rules, he registered a trust, and then sub-registered the mosque under the trust’s banner: The Al-Kitaab Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, Iqbal has already found an Imam for the mosque – Qari Jehangir, who is currently doing his Master’s degree from the Islamic University. The coordinator of the mosque is doing his MBA from Preston University. Both are young men in their twenties. The Imam and Khateeb are both from different sects – and the mosque administration says it will have no problem if a Shia Imam leads prayers.

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