ALASKA – A relatively small Muslim community in America’s far north western state of Alaska have put final touches on their first mosque.
"It will be a two-story building. The men will be in the prayer area on the first floor and the women will be on the second floor,” Heather Robertson Barbour, a Muslim who lives in Anchorage, told PRI on Tuesday, August 26.
“There will be a balcony where women can watch the Imam when he does sermons," Barbour added.
For decades, Muslim community in Anchorage, Alaska, used to hold their gatherings and communal prayers in a rented space in a shopping mall.
"It's a small place," Barbour said.
Over the years, the Muslim community in Alaska has grown larger and the space they rented became too small.
With the growth of the Muslim community, demand increased for a larger place to host Muslim prayers
The idea for the mosque came about a few years ago and after years of fundraising, construction finally began in 2010.
After almost four year of work, Alaska Muslims will have a brand new mosque to call their spiritual home.
Finishing the first phase in the mosque, the second phase of the construction consists of creating classrooms, offices and a library.
Because of harsh winters and heavy snowfalls in Alaska, the mosque will not have a dome. However, the cold weather hasn't stopped the flow of immigration to Alaska, creating diverse Muslim communities of all backgrounds.
"We have people from all over the world," Barbour said.
"We have people from southeast Asia, south Asia, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Europe."
The diversity of the society was widely accepted in Anchorage.
"If, say, an Arab tries to impose their culture, Pakistanis say, no, that's not Islamic. You have to go to the books, you have to research," Barbour said.
Opening their new mosque, Barbour thinks Muslims there will feel more organized. The place will give them more of an identity.
"We'll have the facilities. We won't have a kind of a rag-tag operation," she says.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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