Lakemba Mosque (also known as Masjid Ali Bin Abi Taleb) is reportedly Australia's largest mosque.
Lakemba Mosque was the second mosque in Sydney and is located in the suburb of Lakemba, Sydney. The mosque is owned and managed by the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA). The Lakemba Mosque and the LMA are co-located in Wangee Road, Lakemba.
The Lebanese Muslim Association commenced construction of the mosque in 1972, with it being completed in 1977, with about half of the funds coming from the Middle East and the largest donation coming from the Saudi royal family. It was the second mosque built in Sydney and is one of Australia's most well-known mosques.
While historically Muslims of Lebanese heritage constituted the majority of the congregation, today people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Somali and South-East Asian backgrounds are also of significant numbers, along with a small but growing number of converts. The overwhelming majority of the congregation is either of Hanafi or Shafi'i background.
Lakemba Mosque has a number of staff who assist in the running and maintenance of the mosque.
Currently the mosque has two official Imams:The Imam of Lakemba Mosque is Shaykh Yahya Safi, who worked as an Imam in Lebanon before his appointment at the Lakemba Mosque in 1996. Shaykh Yahya gives the khutbah each week, unless there is a visiting Shaykh from overseas.
The assistant Imam, as of 2015, is Shaykh Mohamed Harby. Shaykh Mohamed is a qāriʾ from Egypt who specialises in the sciences of Qur'an which he teaches at an advanced level to students at the Lebanese Muslim Association.
The mosque and its operations are overseen by a committee.
The mosque offers a number of religious classes, such as in Prophetic biography, Fiqh and Aqidah. The mosque gives a platform to a number of local Shaykhs to speak and teach, such as Shaykh Wesam Charkawi.
Several thousand worshippers normally attend weekly prayers on Fridays. In 2015 around 30,000 worshippers attended Eid prayers at the mosque and in the road outside, making it one of Australia's largest eid celebrations.
In February 2009, a Sydney Morning Herald journalist was ejected from the Lakemba mosque and the newspaper later reported that Anwar al-Awlaki spoke via phone link. A director of the mosque said that Shady Alsuleiman was in charge of organising evening youth events at the time of the sermon.
There was controversy in late 2012 after Shaykh Safi told the congregation, during prayers, that they should not take part in anything to do with Christmas. A fatwa warned that, "disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path". The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, said these views did not represent the majority of Muslims in Australia. Keysar Trad, former director and president of the LMA, said they previously greeted people with merry Christmas, "I don't know what has changed."
Clive Williams, adjunct professor at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence & Counter Terrorism says that Shia muslims are not welcomed at the mosque.
The mosque is not a supporter of marriage equality with Shaykh Safi saying, "it's a major sin to have such relations between men and men, a sexual relation." Similarly there is not gender equality, with women having to go to a second floor and remain behind tinted glass.