VA: CHARLOTTESVILLE MOSQUE TO FACILITATE UNITY
Inside an aging white house on 10 1/2 Street, Khalid Mohammad chants a mellifluous incantation of the salat al-jumu'ah, the Friday afternoon prayer.
Behind him more than 70 men and boys, kneeling on the green carpet, bow their heads to the ground in unison and respond: Allahu akbar.
The two-story house, which serves as the mosque and study center for the Islamic Society of Central Virginia, is brimming with people on a sweltering Friday afternoon. The congregation spills into every nook of the house, located just north of West Main Street in Charlottesville. Men - some dressed in green doctors scrubs, others in T-shirts and jeans, and a few in traditional Islamic robes - are praying in the hallway, the kitchen and on the brick pathway outside.
And this is a lightly attended prayer service, as few University of Virginia students are in town for the summer.
"When school is in session, people are all over each other," said Khaled Galal, the society's outreach secretary. "Not everyone can fit in this place."
Soon, though, the local Muslim community will no longer face such space constraints. The society has received preliminary permission from the city to build a new mosque in the Fifeville neighborhood.