The centre is expected to be ready by year end Image Credit: Abhishek Sengupta/XPRESS

DUBAI Dubai is set to get an Islamic centre meant primarily for its Chinese expatriates, XPRESS has learnt.

Called the Chinese Islamic Centre, the government of Dubai project is being developed in International City and is expected to be ready by year end.

“We are hoping to complete by December,” said Abed Alhaleem Alshalby, Dubai-based Daman Contracting LLC’s Site Manager overseeing the project.

The proposed ‘G+1’ 26,000 square foot Islamic Centre, has the support of the country’s top philanthropic and charitable organisation Dar Al Ber Society.

According to Alshalby, it will be a first-of-its-kind project anywhere in the region, aimed mainly for the benefit of the Chinese living here.

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Located in the China cluster of Nakheel’s International City, Dubai’s own version of Chinatown, the site is a stone’s throw from Dragon Mart. “It’s definitely great news for us. The community that it is meant for will never be far away,” said Yasmin, a Chinese Muslim living here.

Fellow Dubai resident Zheng-feng Chen (surnames appear first in traditional Chinese names), 26, from Qingdao, says it will make her feel closer to home. “I am hoping there will be a great collection of books of regional relevance. To visit a centre housing books with Chinese texts will be like homecoming,” said Zhengfeng, who says she has a deep interest in religious studies.

Zhang Xiaoqiang, executive vice-chairman of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said Dubai’s Chinese community is set to double to half a million by 2020.

Currently around 200,000 Chinese expats live in Dubai, a sizeable number of whom follow or have embraced Islam in recent years.