A planned three-story mosque that will serve the city’s growing
Muslim population will hold as many as 1,700 people and house a school,
gymnasium and prayer hall.

The 41,000-square-foot building is expected to be one of the largest
Islamic centers in New England when it is completed in November, said Ihab
Dabbagh, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, which is
funding the project.

“It will be much more than a mosque,” Dabbagh said. “We’ll have lectures
and other events we’ve never been able to host in our old building.”

Since 1979, Muslims have met for Friday prayers in a renovated Lutheran
church that holds only 300 people. The local Muslim community has outgrown
the center and needs more space and parking, Dabbagh said.

The center also will serve as the new home of the Alhuda Academy, which now
offers education covering kindgergarten through grade 12 at a site in

Work began on the center in April 2003 and was to have been completed
months ago, the Telegram & Gazette reported Sunday. Since the project is
being funded through donations, it has taken time to collect money, Dabbagh


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