Community News (V10-I35)

August 21, 2008 by  


Atlanta gets its largest mosqueatlanta-mosque

ATLANTA,GA—Atlanta Muslims are elated with the opening of the area’s largest mosque this week. The Al Farooq Masjid cost more than $10 million to build and took more than ten years to complete. It is located in midtown near the neighborhood known as Home Park.

The 46,000 square-foot mosque has a minaret that’s nearly 150 feet high. The golden dome is 65-foot high and the main prayer hall can accomodate 1,100 people.

There are an estimated 80,000 Muslims in Atlanta and the city boasts of having 35 other mosques.

Muslim Advocates Announces New Accreditation Initiative With the Better Business Bureau

SAN FRANCISCO–Muslim Advocates, a legal and civic education organization, together with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance today announced the launch of a new initiative to assist American-Muslim charitable organizations and nonprofits meet the highest standards of legal compliance, financial accountability and good governance. This initiative combines the experience of the Alliance, atrusted and independent charity evaluator, with the legal expertise of Muslim Advocates.

The initiative is part of a comprehensive community education campaign, led by Muslim Advocates, to strengthen the governance and legal compliance of American-Muslim charitable and nonprofit organizations.

“Charitable giving is not only an American tradition, but a religious obligation for many people of faith,” says Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “Muslim charities contribute to our nation and local communities through mosque-sponsored food drives, aiding victims of natural disasters, running community-based health clinics and numerous other activities. As the holy month of Ramadan begins in two weeks, American Muslims will be opening their wallets and doing their part to aid our fellow Americans and all those in need.”

“We couldn’t think of a better time to launch this initiative, and we’re thankful for the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance’s assistance,” Khera continued.

Since 2001, Muslim charities have been under intense scrutiny as the federal government has focused extensively on the community’s charitable institutions and their donors. Charities increasingly need guidance on how to meet these new challenges but frequently have limited resources or expertise to do so.

“Keeping our charitable sector strong and vibrant is our priority,” said Art Taylor, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. “We’re pleased that Muslim Advocates has engaged us to begin this initiative and heartened by the level of interest from organizations in the American-Muslim community. The Alliance charity accountability standards are tough but reflect the interest and concerns of the donating public.”

Muslim Advocates and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance will provide services free of charge to organizations that choose to participate in this initiative. These services will include:

– Assistance by a Muslim Advocates full-time staff attorney and their network of attorneys, accountants and other experts who will work with Muslim charities to assess their current practices, identify information needed for meaningful review by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and offer expert advice on how to meet the Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability.

– Evaluation by the Alliance to determine that an organization has met the 20 Standards of Charity Accountability (considered by many to be the toughest, most comprehensive governance and fiscal management standards in the nonprofit sector).

Muslim Advocates will also host a series of educational seminars for nonprofit leaders in eight cities across the United States, beginning this fall. These seminars will advise Muslim charities on a wide range of issues, including how to improve their governance, increase transparency, and ensure legal compliance with anti-terror financing laws and regulations.

“Many American-Muslim charitable organizations are already playing an active role in complying with our nation’s standards when it comes to charitable giving,” said Khera. “This new initiative with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance provides an avenue for American-Muslim charities and nonprofit institutions to familiarize themselves with and adhere to the highest standards of governance and accountability while reassuring donors that resources are being directed toward their intended and stated purposes.”

Seven charities in the following metropolitan areas have agreed to take part in the evaluation and accreditation program: Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco and Cincinnati.

Wetlands mosque plan approved

WETLANDS,CT–The Inland Wetland and Watercourses Commission Wednesday approved the wetlands plans for a proposed mosque, the Record Journal reported.

The commission voted 5-1 to approve the Islamic mosque, being proposed by Tariq Farid, a founder of the locally headquartered franchise, Edible Arrangements.
The mosque is still being reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which is considering potential traffic and parking problems. Farid is proposing a 2,550-square-foot mosque that would be constructed into an existing home at the site. Additions would be constructed at the rear of the home. The plan calls for 96 parking spaces.

Mosque controversy over parking space

SALT LAKE CITY—In an unfortunate development a brawl erupted last Friday over parking space at a Salt Lake City mosque. “It’s just a simple fight that broke out. It had to do with cars being double-parked and someone wanted to get out in a hurry … it’s just a simple thing that kind of got out of hand,” said Iqbal Hossain, one of the directors of the West Valley City Mosque.

The fight reportedly started with a conflict between a 26-year-old man and a juvenile. The 26-year-old had a box cutter, while another man allegedly took out a knife to defend the juvenile.

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