From speakers mounted inside and outside the modest stucco house in Rancho Cucamonga, the intoning sound of the call to Friday prayer floated in the muggy summer air.
Around 1 p.m., dozens of women in head scarves and flowing salwar kameezes streamed into the three women’s prayer rooms, shucking off shoes and sandals at the door. Going into the building through a separate entrance, more than 50 men squeezed into the building’s largest prayer room. Another 50 or so filed into a converted garage.
Those who were late took their places on green and white mats laid out on the patio between the house and the garage, sheltered from the sun by a bright blue tarp.
It was clear that the house was straining to fill the needs of the Islamic Center of Inland Empire, whose membership at last count included more than 200 families.
And insha’Allah — God willing — these would be the last Friday prayers in the old mosque. Construction workers were scrambling to polish the marble floors and lay the last roof tiles on their new masjid, or mosque, so the congregation could hold prayer services inside the new building for the holy month of Ramadan, which begins today.
“We have been waiting for this,” said Salma Shah, 62, a Rancho Cucamonga resident who is a member of the center’s board of trustees. “It’s our dream.”
The center has come a long way since a handful of families started worshiping in a rented warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga in 1992. (MORE)