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Religious community welcomes mosque to Evanston

While there may be religious conflict in other parts of the world, it was all peace, harmony, and brotherhood Friday as Evanston Muslims dedicated their not-yet-completed masjid, or mosque, across the bridge from the Ecology Center at 2045 Brown Ave.

In recognition of the last day of the holy month of Ramadan, members of the Dar-us-Sunnah Masjid invited the community to join them for lunch as they ended 29 days of fasting.

In an obvious reference to the news stories from Florida and New York pertaining to inter-religious conflict, the president of the masjid, Muhammad Saiduzzaman, declared that “hatred has no room in our hearts.”

Alderman Delores Holmes.

Representing the city at the dedication was Alderman Dolores Holmes, 5th Ward, who said, “I thank you for choosing Evanston as the home for your mosque.” She expressed the wish that the entire world could focus on this gathering in Evanston “to see how we live in harmony.”

Following a brief ceremony on a clear and crisp autumn-like day, attended by nearly 50 Evanston religious leaders and community members, visitors were taken on a tour of the facility, which had been vacant for more than 30 years before local Muslims took it over and secured zoning approval from the city in March 2007.

Until the main sanctuary is completed, the group is using an all-purpose room in the basement as a venue for saying their prayers. Outfitted with 15 oriental rugs, strips of black tape have been run across the rugs as a means of insuring that participants in the prayer rituals are facing in the direction of Mecca, according to Muslim tradition.

Although the mosque has limited parking facilities, mosque leaders expressed appreciation to the city for allowing their members to utilize the parking lot of the nearby Ecology Center.

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Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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