Congregation Places Faith in $2 Million Mosque Project
By Kelly Rush

Left to right: Mayor Bill Alexander, Dr. Shoaib Patail, Shakeel Syed and Dr. Samiullah

Rancho Cucamonga: To Shoaib Patail, a mosque being built by the Islamic Center of Inland Empire represents a new beginning marked by a community involvement, shared values and charitable work.
To member Diana Shaibi, who teaches a Sunday school course for youth, the mosque and its large classrooms means she won’t have to teach in a kitchen anymore.
Members of the center and various community representatives celebrated the beginning of the mosque’s construction in a ceremony on Friday at the site, 9212 Base Line Road.
“If there’s anybody who’s looking forward to the new center, it is me,” Shaibi joked after the reception.
Patail, project manager and a member of the center’s board of trustees, said he’s hopeful the $2 million, 12,900-square-foot building will be completed within a year.
Members currently worship in a small home on the property, which they long outgrew, he said.
The community came to embrace the project, despite initial trepidation by neighbors. Patail said the center’s members held meeting for the community and built a sound wall around the property to assuage concerns.
Marvin Brandt, a resident who attended the reception, said neighbors overall have been positive about the project.
View of the ground-breaking ceremony

During the ceremony, Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Anaheim-based Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said the center should be a place where positive relationships among all faith groups are fostered.
“This house of God must embrace all people, it must also be a sanctuary to all people,” he said.
The center not only will be a place of worship for the Muslim community, but a place for community events, including interfaith meetings, educational lectures on the peaceful message of Islam and after-school activities for children, said Shahana Samiullah, principal of the Sunday school.
“Everybody has found themselves mobilized, with a renewed sense of energy,” she said. “We are all very excited, especially our youth, the generation who wants to see this happen.”
The Rev. Patrick Kirsch of St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church in Rancho Cucamonga, said Christian and Muslim communities, as well as other faiths, can live in harmony with one another. “Our presence (at the reception) speaks to the need to come together,” he said.
The center has been built in phases. From 2002-03, the property was cleaned and graded, parking was added and the sound wall was built. Remodeling of the existing building also was begun.
In 2004, more parking was added and the main building was approved by the city. The mosque will feature two minarets, a dome and cathedral ceiling, as well as a state-of-the-art library, multipurpose rooms, patios and a main prayer hall. (Courtesy, Ontario, CA)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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