As the Islamic Center of Minnesota prepares to expand its school this
spring, center officials said they will do their best to mend fences with
Fridley neighbors who oppose the addition.

The center, a focal point of the Muslim community in the Twin Cities,
addressed some objections from city officials and neighbors by revising its
building plans, said center vice president Anwar Abdel-Karim.

And before construction begins this spring, the center plans to offer a
90-minute class explaining the religion of Islam and Islamic culture.

“We are a good neighbor and would like a good relationship with all of our
neighbors, and will do the best we can to get our relationship back to
where it was,” Abdel-Karim said.

The Fridley City Council voted 3-2 last week to allow the center to proceed
with the expansion, which will include 14 new classrooms this year and a
gym, locker rooms, bookstore and library in five to 10 years.

The expansion would add up to 200 students to Al-Amal School, a combined
grade school and high school that has an enrollment of about 350.

Many neighbors said the council should approve just one phase of the
project at a time, while others expressed concerns that the plans will
enlarge the school beyond its original scope and erode peace and quiet


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