ABOVE PHOTO: Masjidullah, Inc. leaders sign documents to purchase $1 million property. Seated at the table from left to right: Saleem Abdul Lateef, Business Manager; Imam Mikal Shabazz, Resident Imam; Zakariyya Abdur Rahman, Site Acquisition Chair; Zakiyyah Muhammad, Secretary.
Masjid expands from 100 seat edifice to a 1,500 member mosque
In an historic move, the Muslim community of Philadelphia purchased the former West Oak Lane Church of God for $1 million, thus making it one of the largest Islamic institutions in the city of Philadelphia.
In an effort to accommodate the rapidly growing spiritual and educational needs of the Philadelphia community, Masjidullah, Inc. believed now was the time to move to a larger facility. This purchase has enabled Masjidullah to acquire a sanctuary, school, and office building.
Masjidullah’s Resident Imam Mikal Shabazz said, “Our vision is to provide a first class center for education and vital community services that will uplift and enliven all of Philadelphia. Obviously prayer is important, and our prayer hall will be large enough to accommodate Muslims from all over the city”.
The campus includes a prayer area that can hold between 1,000 – 1,500 people; a banquet hall that can accommodate 300 people, a 14 classroom school that can hold 300 students and an administrative building with 10 offices. In addition to prayer services, the Board of Trustees plans to develop a progressive Islamic school. The three year plan includes early childhood education, out-of-school time programming, and an Arabic language charter school.
This new facility will provide Philadelphia with a grand mosque that can serve as a unifying element in the community and as a Philadelphia landmark. In addition, the new facility will enable Masjidullah to expand its services and outreach programs and “take the masjid out of the masjid” to address the social ills that plague urban communities.
“The acquisition of this property was made possible through the contributions of hundreds of supporters, including many non-Muslims,” said Michael A. Rashid, chair of the Masjid’s Special Projects Committee and President/CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas, a managed Medicaid company. “The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation helped facilitate the transaction and financing was provided by United Bank.”
At a time when the news is punctuated with discussions about dilapidated school buildings, schools closing while new prisons are being built, and youth unemployment rates are at the level they were during the Great Depression, a group of committed business leaders came out on a Saturday afternoon in March to pledge their support for the establishment of a new school under the auspices of Masjidullah.
“This facility will allow us to educate our children by providing a safe, Islamically-based education program,” continued Rashid. “This new facility will enable Masjidullah to serve as a city-wide masjid or ‘grand mosque’ that works for the unity of the Muslim community; and be a unifying force in building alliances with other faith and community groups.”
To help Masjidullah establish an educational institution, build a grand mosque in Philadelphia, build alliances with other faith-based and community organizations and expand its programs and services in their new million dollar complex, go to www.masjidullah.org; click on donate or call (267) 250-7801. An additional $300,000 is needed to prepare the facility for opening.