One of the largest new Islamic worship centers in the U.S. doesn’t look like a mosque, at least at first glance.
And, according report from USA Today, that’s what its developer was aiming for, especially in a post-Sept. 11 world. “We went to the architect and explained that we didn’t want a building that stood out as a mosque,” said Khaled Farag, who also is one of the mosque’s founders.
“We wanted something that fit into a residential neighborhood. We wanted an American mosque,” Farag said.
According to the report, plans for the Noor Cultural Islamic Center were well under way before the Sept. 11 attacks. After the tragedy, the center added interior glass walls and additional windows and launched an active community outreach program. Farag says the goal was to make the building more user-friendly for non-Muslim visitors.
The $7.4 million center opened five years ago this month. During the August celebration of Ramadan, the annual Muslim holy month of fasting, supporters raised the final $360,000 to pay off the construction debt.
Architect Bob Apel says his marching orders were clear.
“They didn’t want to impose themselves on everybody else,” he said. “They wanted to be part of the community.”
About 2,000 people attend prayers weekly, including packed services each Friday around midday report says.
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