Muslim community leader Mansoor Shah says the Timaru Muslim Educational Trust has entered into a contract to purchase the Sacred Heart Parish Centre, on Napier Rd, for $425,000 and if everything goes according to plan, the fledgling community will have a formal place of worship within five months.
"We have got a contract in place and we are paying it off," Shah said.
"We have paid a deposit and are now fundraising for the remainder."
Shah said people of any religion needed a place of worship in close proximity to them to practice their religion and educate their community.
"We want our community to learn a few things and make it easier for us to know Islam better," he said.
"While it is a mosque more of it will be about getting the community to understand Islam - more of an educational factor."
Shah said as Timaru had been designated as a place for refugees and they expected the Muslim population in the town to double within a year, it meant the mosque would also serve as a community center.
Community services would provide refugees help with understanding the language and local practices, he said.
"Most of these people are from the Middle East, and this gives them a community to come to.
Shah said the trust wanted to give refugees the best chance of adapting to life in Timaru.
"Initially we will bring them into the community and show them who people in Timaru are and they have a place to belong," he said.
He said the Muslim community in Timaru consisted of about 12 young families and many more seasonal workers who return home during the off season.
"We have a lot of young people from the ages of two to 15," Shah said.
"We really need to give them the environment in which they need to learn."