Ammar Mosque (2nd Generation) [c.1945-1978]
The small Ammar mosque in Happy Valley was re-built after World War II adjacent to the Muslim cemetery to offer Janazah (Funeral) prayers but also accommodated the needs of the five daily prayers as demand grew. It acted as a religious, cultural and communal focus for a number of Hong Kong Muslims in addition to the Shelley Street mosque. Devout Muslims would attend the Friday congregational prayers (Ju’mah) and had Friday Halal lunch which served a mixture of fusion food (South Asian and Chinese reflecting the ethnic mix) which I recall included chicken curry and potatoes, rice, Chinese fried vegetables and Chinese tofu with beef followed by sliced segments of oranges for dessert served on communal tables. The younger generation of ‘local boys’ could also attend Saturday Islamiyat classes. I remember playing and climbing on the large gnarled roots of the cemetery trees by the mosque as a young boy but these hazy recollections stretches the limits of my childhood memories.
Some 220 remains had to be exhumed and re-buried at the New Terrace on the Hau Tak Lane side in stages from late 1976-1978 due to the decision of the Hong Kong Government to build the Aberdeen tunnel on a route which cut straight through the Muslim Cemetery in Happy Valley. The road was widened when the Aberdeen Tunnel flyover was built, pushing back the cemeteries’ walls. Although the land on the west side of Wongneichong Valley and registered in the Land Office as Inland Lot No. 288 was deeded on 15th July 1870 by Major General Henry Wase Whitfield (on behalf of the Colony of Hong Kong) for the purposes of a “Mussalman Cemetery” and with its boundaries adjusted in 1938, the land remained vested in the Crown and so the small Happy Valley Ammar mosque was eventually torn down in December 1978. The Aberdeen tunnel opened in 1982. The Hong Kong government offered a new plot of land to the Muslim community in the current location at 40 Oi Kwan Road in Wan Chai and contributed HK$2.5 million towards the re-provisioning of the new mosque which began construction in September 1979 with funds from the Islamic Union. The new Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre was opened on 14th September 1981.