Muslim leaders broke ground at the site of the first dedicated mosque building in Dubuque, Iowa in a project that is expected to take four to five months to complete.
The event was heralded as a “great moment” by the leaders of the Tri-State Islamic Center.
Rami Eltibi, the center’s president, said, “We needed our own place and our own building. This is a great moment for us.”
The Imam for the center, Adib Kassas, seconded the group’s need for their own facility. “I think it’s time to move to a place or our own. There’s something about being able to own the land.”
The center had previously rented space in several buildings for worship services, but has needed more space as the local Muslim community has grown. Strong growth is attributed to the influx of students attending local colleges.
Kassas sees the mosque being a gateway for more people to engage the local Muslim community. “We want to be able to share with people our culture and show them what we are about, instead of a few crazy individuals who have psychological problems,” he said.
The Imam acknowledged the negative perception of Islam because of the terrorist attacks by radicals. “I can understand people’s fears, but the only way to counteract that is to show people who we really are. We can’t just hide and expect the world to change.”
Eltibi foresees more Muslims in Dubuque due to the mosque providing them a place of worship. “Many Muslim families looking to work here will see that there is a mosque, and that they are welcome,” he said. “It will bring many great people to this city.”
The new structure will accommodate up to 130 people at once, according to designer Gary Miller.
Join the discussion in the chat room
[flyzoo-embed-chatroom id=’5711542fbb547e0c383e8a16′ width=’auto’ height=’640px’]