The West Valley’s largest mosque meets in a former church building and is
so crowded that people often pray outside in the heat and women pray in the
basement.

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix says it’s time for a bigger space.
A real mosque.

Last month, city officials gave preliminary approval for a new building at
the southwestern corner of Orangewood Avenue and the access road to the
Black Canyon Freeway, across from the current meeting place on the north
side of Orangewood Avenue.

Construction isn’t expected to begin for about two years as the community
designs the building and raises money.

The Islamic Community Center started in 1984 with about 10 families,
community treasurer Mounib Shaaban said. In 1998, the center moved to its
current quarters and now serves about 400 people, mostly from Phoenix and
the West Valley.

The growth shows no sign of stopping, with new worshippers coming from out
of state and from Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan and Afghanistan, community board
chairman Usama Shami said.

The community could double to 800 worshipers, he said..

 

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