After almost 30 years of planning and fundraising, Ithaca’s Islamic community has raised enough money to build the first mosque in the area — something it hopes to see happen within the next three months.
“We’ve been trying to raise money for the mosque since the 1980s,” said Ahmed Ahmed, a senior research associate in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Ahmed said that the Muslim population in Ithaca and at Cornell consists of approximately 400 people. Fundraising within the small community — which he said is made up of “mostly students” — to build a mosque was difficult, he said.
Now, with funds in place, Ahmed said that community members have decided to purchase a small building or piece of land, perhaps near The Shops at Ithaca Mall, to establish their mosque.
“If you start even with a small building, you can go to the [big mosques] in big cities and ask them for donations to increase the space. If we don’t have a project, they won’t give us anything,” Ahmed said. “This is the aim — to start anything [so that] at least we can start with something.”
A mosque would not only provide a permanent place for prayers but it would also provide spaces for learning about Islam, according to Ahmed.
Aka dawah to infidels.
Ahmed also said that few locations are able to accomodate the mosque’s parking demands, adding that he thinks the site would have to provide at least 15 parking spaces for its visitors.
15 parking spaces for a community of 400 Muslims? See the previous post on how mosques get approved even when they don’t meeting zoning laws.