Houstonian Corner (V9-I6)

February 1, 2007 by  


We Received This Appeal For Support

We are looking for 200 supporters to contribute $10 each to help a mother who was forced to quit her job to care for an ailing son. This sister lost her husband 1 year ago and her son has been diagnosed with a debilitating illness. Please pray for this family to accept Allah’s qudra. And please take action and mail your $10 contribution to: Sister Malika – 16327 Split Willow Drive–Houston–Texas 77083–Phone: 832-884-3886. Please pass this request to your friends and family and encourage them to do the same. Thank you and May ALLAH continue to bless you and this family (Aameen).

What’s Happening?

If you traverse Baker Road south of Kingsland in the City of Katy, at the 1800 Block you will find two signs, done in identical yellow color and same font of letters that stand very near to each other. On the right is the Katy Islamic Association (KIA) sign saying “Community Center coming up at this the 11-acre property.” A second sign about 500 feet away says more words and describes the plan of Businessman Craig Baker of having “Friday Night Pig Racing” and has built a pig pen at the edge of his property closest to the proposed KIA site. There is a feeling that since Islam forbids eating swine and Friday is an important day in Islam due to the special afternoon prayers, Baker’s actions may have been motivated from a desire to hurt the Muslim neighbors. It has been learnt that KIA has also come under fire at the local homeowners’ meeting in the Baker Road Neighborhood, where concerns have been raised over the proposed project. KIA in turn has taken extremely positive and practical measures to resolve misconceptions.

KIA is organizing several events in the Churches and Community Places in the area and has invited all Houstonians especially Muslims to attend in large numbers. Some of the events are:

Message from the Katy Islamic Association: “Building Bridges of Understanding” – Friday – February 09, 2007 7PM. – Temple Sinai – 13875 Brimhurst Drive – Houston – Texas 77494 – – – The Picnic by the Katy Islamic Association – Saturday – February 10, 2 PM. – 1800 Baker Road – Houston – Texas 77094 – AND – Sunday, February 11, 2007 10AM. at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church – 1530 Norwalk – Katy – Texas 77450 – Inf. Dr. Kamel Fotouh 713-291-1295 – Web-Page: www.katyislamicassociation.com

Muslims of Katy proactive & nonemotional

By ILyas Hasan Choudry – TMO Houston (MMNS)

Katy is a growing suburb of the Greater-Houston-Galveston-Region. Over the years, most of the Muslims have moved into the suburbia of this 12,500 square miles and 5,400,000 people region. One of such localities is Katy, where the Muslim population has increased. Several Muslim doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs have moved into this area and are contributing immensely to the well-being on their city.

All the growing communities have their own unique needs and one of the salient needs for the Muslims is to preserve their identity and make sure that the pure values of the Muslims’ religion are passed on to the future generations. This involves building religious institutions like masjids and schools. In America, it is very important that there be a gymnasium as a part of the overall plan. The presence of such institutions also gives an opportunity for Muslims to have a place where they can invite their neighbors, interact with them, share their values and culture with the people around them and as such create thriving and model communities.

The Muslims of Houston, Sugarland, Pearland, Stafford, Missouri City, Spring, Woodlands and so on in the Greater-Houston-Galveston-Region have proved to be active members of the society and have served Houstonians in various facets of community life. Considering this, there was a need to do the same and the Katy Islamic Association (KIA) was established by some dedicated Muslim Community members.

The Katy Islamic Association (KIA) is a not-for-profit organization registered with the State of Texas (Tax ID 20-4644310) since April 2006. The mission of KIA is multi-faceted and goes beyond the typical charter of a masjid. With the community growing and the message of Islam reaching many, the brothers and sisters of Katy felt the need to create not only a place for religious worship, but a place that could offer the community a vast array of services ranging from the physical and spiritual to the religious and civic.

An 11-acre property located approximately 1.5 miles south of I-10 off of Baker Road was purchased in September 2006 and it is the current and future site of KIA and its Islamic Community Center. This property has ample space to support the community, with plans for a formal masjid, community center, youth athletic facilities, an Islamic school and a community outreach Dawah Center. Currently, the property contains a 2800 sq. ft. home, which serves as the masjid.

Located in an affluent residential area, the KIA’s 11-acre property located has become a hot-button issue for homeowners who live nearby. Residents have cited various issues including fear of the unknown as reasons that they do not want the Islamic religious center in the area, while representatives from the KIA have eloquently explained how such a center will only add to the community and create a family-centered facility in which kids can play and feel safe in a drug-free environment.

A local business owner, Craig Baker, whose family came into this Katy Area in the 1800s and in whose name the street is called Baker Road, has a property that borders the KIA community center land, and he has decided to exhibit several pigs in a pig pen and his publicity sign says that Friday night pig runs coming soon.

Mr. Baker of Craig Baker Marble Company, Inc. denies he is doing this to offend the Muslims and has said that he has been doing business since 1979 and has lived all his life in the area: Near him pigs are just a symbol of being able to do whatever he wants on his land. According to him, two office bearers of KIA came to his office and politely asked him if he can relocate his business, and he considers this as a threat.

Mr. Baker does admit he was only asked in a polite manner and spokesperson of KIA Rauf Diab has clarified that every Muslim is supposed to have good and positive feelings about his or her neighbor whether Jewish or Christian.

Some residents have feared that property values in the area may go down. The zip code 77094 in which this property is located has the second highest income per capita in the state of Texas. It has been learnt that Mr. Baker has offered KIA $1,205,000 to sell the 11-acre property. On the other hand, Mr. Diab of KIA has informed TMO that they paid $1.1 million for this property and in doing so, the Muslims of the area have improved the property value immediately and not reduced it,” Diab said. KIA eventually plans to build a mosque, a gym and a school there. There’s no date for the groundbreaking ceremonies, or the first pig race.

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