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Community News for Week Ending 6/29

July 3, 2006 by  


Jumuah prayers held at new Orland Park Mosque

ORLAND PARK,IL—- Friday prayers were held for the first time at the newly built Orland Prayer Center in this Chicago suburb. The $4.5 million, state of the art 22,000 square foot mosque for the area’s Muslim community who have overcome many obstacles including vocal opposition from 600 neighborhood residents.

All of the mosque’s donations have come from within the community and the leaders have vowed to make it a youth friendly mosque. The mosque can accommodate 800 worshippers and has ample parking space. The mosque is packed with technological gadgets including video cameras, numerous flat-screen monitors and projection screens. The khutbas will also be streamed live on the internet.

The new mosque emerged out of a 5 acre plot donation by Dr.Mohamed Krad. He told the Chicago Tribune that seeing his dream turn into the 24,000-square-foot mosque, which was modeled on Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock , fills him with pride.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said. “It’s been difficult day to day the last couple of years, but it is incredibly rewarding and a labor of love.”

The mosque’s official inauguration will be held in August.

Muslim owned business vandalized in Alabama

CUBA, AL— A recently acquired grocery store in Cuba city was vandalized last when someone used a hammer to break several of its windows. The new owner, who is a Muslim, is relatively new to the area and was refurbishing it to open it as a convenience store and deli.

Police chief Chrish Vaughn told WTOK television that he’s looking into the incident as a possible hate crime. He has requested the FBI to look into the matter. He said if it is found to be a hate crime, he will ask the FBI to formally join the investigation.

Islamic center opens in Redlands

REDLANDS, CA— Redlands opened its first mosque last week at an official ceremony attended by several supporters and members of the Islamic Center of Redlands. The center is located in a small house in the middle of a dry field. But organizers have plans to build a $4 million 22,000 square foot three story building. The new building when constructed will have a prayer area, school, counselling center and Islamic public library.

“We have accomplished so much already,” said Dr. Mohammad Hossain of the center. “When we first established this place in 1999 all of this land was a jungle with nothing but bushes and trees. Now we at least have a place where we can gather as a community.”

Parking woes lead to complaints

MANCHESTER,NH— Parking by construction volunteers at the site of a Manchester mosque has led to complaints by area residents. The Islamic Society of Greater Manchester is building New Hampshire’s first mosque since 1999 at a 3 acre site.

Construction manager Nermin Cejvan said workers occasionally park two or three cars on the street when they can’t be accommodated elsewhere. In response, residents regularly call police, he said. Cejvan believes that the opposition is due to the fact that a mosque is being built. Neighbors deny the charge and say that it is only a parking issue. Cejvan said only a handful of cars are parked on the street making it a minor parking issue.

Rep. Saghir Tahir also thinks that the opposition is due to the mosque.

“They should show some generosity,” Rep. Saghir Tahir said. “This is harassment.”

Tahir said opposition to the mosque is akin to other, earlier, biases.

“It happened with the Jews. It happened with the Irish,” Tahir said.

Halal law in Virginia from July 1

RICHMOND, VA— A state law will go into effect in July 1 aimed at protecting Muslim consumers from Halal food fraud. The Halal Food Bill mandates all businesses that advertise as selling Halal products to verify that they are indeed Halal. The Bill was sponsored by Del. Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk.

Businesses that advertise halal foods must include notice of a Web site and telephone number to verify their legitimacy, according to Musa Abdus Salaam, a local representative of the Islamic Political Party of America. The law is similar to existing state law for foods prepared in the Jewish kosher laws. The Halal legislation has been enacted in several other US states but its enforcement has been lax.

Mosque to open in former Ice Cream shop

FRAMINGHAM, MA— The Islamic Society of Framingham has purchased a building which was formerly a Friendly’s Ice Cream Shop. The building was bought for $615,000 and and another $75,000 will be spent on renovations.

Fareed Siddiqui, a founding member of the society, told the Metro West Daily News that people should not expect the former scoop shop to be replaced by an ornate building. “We’re growing so there’s a need for a bigger place,” said Siddiqui. “Our religion tries to make things simple. The only thing we need is a nice, clean place where we can congregate and worship. We’ve been in this town for a while and we want to work with the town and the neighbors,” he said. If approved by the zoning it will be the second mosque in MetroWest and the only one between Wayland and Worcester.

Christians, Muslims discuss beliefs

MONTGOMERY, AL—Imam Yusuf Hassan of Montgomery explained the Islamic beliefs at the Day of he Enlightenment Seminar organized by the New Birth Center Church of God in Christ. Pastor Fred Frost said it was his intention to reach out to the Muslim community and at the same time dispel a lot of myths about Islam, the Eufala Tribune reported.

Imam Hassan’s speech was followed by a panel discussion with Pastor Ken Jackson of Christian Life Church in Eufaula, Dr. Leon Frazier, a renowned Bible scholar from Alabama State University and Deacon Alfred Reeves of New Birth Center Church. The panel discussion was represented from the Muslim side by Imam Hassan and Hamima Shabazz.

Asked about verses in the Koran that allow and even encourage violence, Hassan and audience member Dr. Talha Malik clarified the passages, stating they only allow violence as a means of defense against oppression which arose as teachings in the Koran when Mohammed saw Islam being threatened by barbarous pagans in the region who would see the religion wiped out.

Asked what Islam defines as oppression, the Muslim panel answered “when the soul of a man is oppressed to the degree where the man’s soul is not free and the man cannot live his life in freedom as God wants his life to be lived, then he is oppressed.”

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