Wednesday, April 4, 2018

USA: Expansion of Allen Ahmadiyya mosque will help make room for booming population of Muslims


The mosque opened in 2002 with less than 100 people.  It now counts more than 400 members from Collin County and the Dallas area, putting the facility over capacity.

This rendering shows what the Bait-ul-Ikram Mosque in Allen will look like after
the expansion is complete.
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Dallas News
By Nanette Light | April 2, 2018

An old soccer field is now a pile of dirt as an Allen mosque moves forward with an expansion that will nearly double its capacity.

The plan to add more than 14,000 square feet to the Bait-ul-Ikram Mosque on Hedgcoxe Road is timed as more people — including more from varying religious backgrounds — continue to pour into booming Collin County. And that growth doesn't show signs of slowing.

Since 2000, the northern county's population has grown nearly 90 percent. At that rate, Collin will double in size before 2030 and surpass the individual populations of Dallas and Tarrant counties by 2050 with a population of more than 3.5 million.

Collin County's Muslim population more than quadrupled from almost 5,700 people in 2000 to nearly 23,000 people in 2010, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives.

"We're constructing this mosque for future times to come," said Khalid Kark, director of public affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Dallas chapter, which is served by the Allen mosque.

The mosque opened in 2002 with less than 100 people.  It now counts more than 400 members from Collin County and the Dallas area, putting the facility over capacity.

"It's been a tremendous growth for us," Kark said.

On Saturday, religious and local political leaders gathered at the mosque for a foundation-laying ceremony for the nearly $3 million expansion, which will include an updated kitchen, missionary residence and two halls for men and women. No exact date was given for completion.

The current facility will be converted into a multipurpose hall for Sunday school and other activities.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, which describes itself as one of the oldest American Muslim organizations, operates more than 70 mosques, including one of the nation's oldest in Chicago.

Kark said the expansion comes during a time of misconceptions about Islam, particularly around the faith's perspective on terrorism, the rights of women and jihad.

He plans to open the new, larger mosque to other faiths and "bring more people into the mosque."

"And understand the true meaning of Islam and the perspectives we have around it," he said.


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