Charlotte’s only Islamic school now operates in a building owned by a Presbyterian church.

It’s been there since April, when it moved from the Islamic Center of Charlotte after a disagreement over who should control religious education and other aspects of the school.

Now, the center plans to open a new school this fall. It will be called Al-Huda, which in Arabic means “The Guidance.”

But the center’s plans raise the question: Are there enough students and money in Charlotte’s Islamic community to support two schools?

Charlotte Islamic School, which opened six years ago with an enrollment of about 40, has grown to 101 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.

Ask what led to the school’s departure from the mosque, and each side has a different answer.

Muhammad Banawan, who is leading efforts for the new mosque school, said center leaders disagreed with the school over who should oversee the teaching of the Quran. They believed that was the role of the imam.

“When they wanted to make decisions in regards to Arabic and Islamic studies, they gave the final decision to the principal,” Banawan said. “We wanted to make sure that the school’s fundamentals with regard to Islamic education were preserved. We’re responsible for the students and their education in those issues.”

And, Banawan said, he and other mosque leaders wanted more oversight over the school’s finances because the school often appealed to the mosque community for money…


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