MI: Mosque Organizer Allays Neighbors' Perceptions


MI: MOSQUE EXPECTS WORSHIP, PEACE

All signs of intimidation toward the Islamic Organization of North America and its president, Imam Steve Elturk, have stopped.

No more broken lightbulbs on the back of the Warren mosque. No more drunkards showing up at night to confront Elturk. And no more residents demanding he prove that he isn't a terrorist.

"We had to go through a lot, and we're still not there yet," Elturk, a Lebanon native, said Wednesday.

A year after Elturk's plans to open Warren's first mosque drew outrage from some residents who didn't want it in their neighborhood, the Troy resident is preparing to open next month to 200 Muslim families.

To counter any lingering negative feelings, Elturk plans an education campaign for the mosque's neighbors that will include an open house and pamphlets about the mosque.

Barbara Sollose, who lives near the mosque, said neighbors are accustomed to the idea of having a new house of worship nearby. But, she said, neighbors will feel better after looking inside.

"I think that they would like to go in and see what is going on," said Sollose, who heads the Central Homeowners of Warren. "I think, now that the shock is over, everything is going to be fine."

 


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