From the ashes of the Islamic Center of Columbia’s former home will come a new era for the mosque, its leader said.

Daoud Abudiab, president of the center, said the congregation will soon move into a new building on Carter Street in Riverside. The structure is the former location of the Church of God of the Prophecy, which has not been active for several years, according to property assessor documents.

Abudiab said moving to the former church was a less-costly alternative to rebuilding the mosque at the South Main Street location.

By the time the new mosque is open, it will have been more than six months since its former location on South Main Street was destroyed the morning of Feb. 9 in what authorities are calling a hate crime. Molotov cocktails were thrown against its walls, which were spray painted with swastikas and the phrases “white power” and “we run the wold (sic).” The flames quickly engulfed the building, decimating it.

A citywide search for those responsible for the crime ended a day later with the arrest of three Columbia men. Eric Baker, 31, Michael Golden, 22, and Jonathan Stone, 18, are each facing federal charges including destruction of a house of worship and conspiracy to violate civil rights. They are imprisoned in Kentucky awaiting a federal trial in Nashville Sept. 8.

Abudiab said “justice will be served,” regarding the three men accused of destroying his place of worship. Despite the tragedy, Abudiab said he never had any intention of leaving Columbia.

“It’s sad to say that I’m still shocked that this happened in my town,” he said. “But this is still home for us.” (MORE)


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