After years of planning, construction and the hard work of fundraising without being able to borrow even a dollar, Rock Hill’s first mosque is just months from opening its doors.
The name of the mosque – Masjid Al-Salam – was voted on by the membership and announced this week.
But this building on Main Street just west of downtown is not just opening to Muslims. The Islamic Center of South Carolina, which is building the mosque, wants it to become “a part of the spiritual life of Rock Hill.”
“This building will be something for all people to be proud of,” said longtime Rock Hill resident Nazir Cheema, a retired engineer and member of the Islamic Center’s building committee. “This is a house of worship. A house of God. We always will welcome all.”
The group has used a storefront on Cherry Road for years as a worship site. The hardest years, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington – when Muslims were generally viewed with suspicion or worse because of the acts of extremists – are behind them. Overt hostility seems to be waning, or done.
Scores of Muslim students, most from other countries, attend Winthrop University. They are practicing members of the Islamic Center, and the college’s allure to foreign students is hoped to be one way to keep the Mosque thriving and filled with young people who need a place to pray, gather and find community.
Unlike some other places around the country – Murfreesboro, Tenn. and a spot near Ground Zero in New York City, the most vivid examples – the Rock Hill mosque has not faced much, if any, public opposition.
“In all the years of the project, I don’t recall any opposition directed toward the city or the City Council,” said city spokeswoman Katie Quinn.
In rural western York County, a small Muslim group has kept to themselves, yet generally flourished, for more than three decades. Called Holy Islamville, that group of several dozen Muslims has taken on more of a public character since the 9/11 attacks to make sure that residents and neighbors have nothing to fear.
Most of the noise against area Muslims – specifically Islamville – came from media hack jobs and other groups that apparently cannot accept that Muslims do not want to destroy the same America that Christians and Muslims live in and thrive in each day.
Biased much? The bold and brave Andrew Dys doesn’t even mention the “hack jobs” – but he does a fine job shilling for Islam, most of which we cut out.
The mosque is two stories plus a minaret, or tower. The top is just over 46 feet from the ground – as high as zoning codes will allow.
The building features a marble-tiled entranceway, prayer rooms for men and women, and ablution stations for washing before prayers – the actual and symbolic purification that prayers of all religions espouse.
There are classrooms, office space, a kitchen.
Some of the tiles were donated by a non-Muslim Rock Hill resident who saw the construction and wanted to help.
Except for having the men and women separated at services, the building looks a lot like any Christian church. On both floors, there are rooms that were built with windows so non-Muslims can attend services and watch.
“We want everyone to be able to observe what we do and see that it is prayer,” Moore said.
Instead of bells as some downtown Christian churches have, the mosque will have an outdoor speaker. Just like mosques around the world for Islam’s billion-plus people, the speaker will issue a call to prayer five times a day.
Are residents aware of this? Are they prepared to hear the loud Islamic call to prayer five times a day like they do in this New York neighborhood?
On their website, the ICSC clarifies Islam is a complete way of life ruled by sharia and it includes warfare:
Islam’s religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to warfare and the environment.
So much for religion of peace. We’ve posted on South Carolina previously:
- Holy Islamville: a Muslim village in South Carolina
- South Carolina imam arrested on felony fraud charge
- South Carolina: New sentence for Muslim who shot two in head
- S. Carolina Mosque Leader Charged in Cigarette Smuggling Ring
- South Carolina introduces bill to protect citizens from “application of foreign law”