TX: American Mosque Looks to the Future



Immigrant fathers and mothers spoke in accented English
beneath the nearly completed mosque's domes.

Teen-agers ate cheese pizza and their parents ate kebab rolls during a
summer picnic underneath two minarets, pointed towers colored
Statue-of-Liberty green.

The Islamic Association of the Mid Cities' new mosque, aligned so its
worshippers face Mecca, is a work intended for the future.

And its 25-year-old imam, Abdul Nasir Jangda, is prepared to lead it there.

Unlike his fellow imams, Jangda needs no time to immerse himself in
American culture or to make the difficult transition to English. Because he
was born in Arlington and was trained in a traditional Islamic seminary in
Pakistan, he represents a different kind of imam, or teacher.

"Our goal is really to build an institution primarily for American-born
Muslims or American converts," said Mohammad Peracha, chairman of the
Islamic association.

Peracha said he believes that more Muslims will follow the association's
example by employing a spiritual leader who is a second-generation American.

"We wanted to be on the front edge of this," he said.

Nearly two years ago, with shovels striking dirt and a blueprint rolled out
on a car hood, local Muslims began work on their $1.2 million vision at 500
Cheek-Sparger Road.

Association officials now hope to move from a rented wedding chapel in
Hurst to the new mosque by mid-October, just in time for the holy month of
Ramadan.

To do so, they will have to raise about $250,000 to finish the interior of
the building, a sum that will cover remaining electrical and mechanical
work, tiling and marble fixtures. Because of Islamic prohibitions against
paying interest, and to avoid debt, they are paying as they go.

If the mosque is for future generations of Northeast Tarrant County
Muslims, then Jangda, wearing a traditional beard, plain robe and head
covering, gives it a young face…

 


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