The easy part ended this week, when city commissioners approved
plans for a 53,000-square-foot Islamic school and mosque -- one of the
largest in South Florida --during a public meeting.
Now, the hard part comes: paying for it.
Dr. Zahid H. Qureshi of Coral Springs is leading a project to build a
regional school and mosque on the southwest corner of Northwest 108th
Avenue and 55th Street, in Sunrise's industrial park. The four-building
complex would include a mosque, a day-care center, a full-time private
school for all grade levels and a cafeteria.
At its peak capacity, the finished school would be able to serve 486 students.
There are about 11 major mosques in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade
counties, said Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the
Council for American-Islamic Relations.
But so far, school officials don't have enough money to complete the first
building, which will be about 12,000 square feet. They still need to raise
about $1.2 million. The project's total cost will be more than $7 million.
It may not be easy to raise that much money. Since 9-11, Muslim community
leaders have complained to politicians and the media about federal
anti-terrorism investigations confounding their fund-raising efforts.
"I think it has become more challenging since [9-11], given the fact that
how many Muslim organizations have been shut down," Ali said. "It has
discouraged a lot of people from giving money to a [Muslim] charitable