MA: Islamic Society Settles into Town


Even without a minaret, the modest brick building on Stedman Street summons Muslims to prayer five times a day.

The Islamic Society of Greater Lowell moved from UMass Lowell to Chelmsford in 1993, said Farook Taufiq, one of the founders.

"We've grown quite a bit," Taufiq said. "We started perhaps with 20 to 30 families, and now we have 300 families."

Despite an alleged vandalism against the center earlier this month, the masjid has gotten along well with its neighbors, said Imam Hafiz Abdul Hannan.

"I live in Chelmsford," Hannan said. "They're always friendly." I have [great] respect and honor for my townspeople."

Hannan recalled an encounter that solidified his feeling of comfort in town.

The Imam was driving down the road, following a car; maybe he was following him too close, Hannan said.

The car pulled into a driveway and the driver made a rude gesture at him, Hannan said.

Rather than driving on, or returning the gesture, the Imam went back and asked the man, "Do you feel like I made some mistake?"

Hannan had been tailgating him, the man said, and then Hannan apologized, he said.

"He was so nice and kind afterwards," said Hannan. "He turned out to be a very, very decent fellow."

After that, Hannan felt good about living in Chelmsford, he said.

However, moving to New England, can take an adjustment from people who are used to living in places with a Muslim majority, said Javed Ahmad, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell.

 


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