Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cultural Jihad and we do not believe it!

Kristina Peterson
Daily News Staff Writer

Palo Alto is home to 36 parks, five library branches, two New Orleans-themed bars, an organic frozen yogurt shop and a historic movie theater that shows only classic films.

One thing it doesn't have is a mosque - yet. Next month, local members of the Anjuman-e-Jamali group, a Shi'a sect of around 85 Islamic families, plan to bring an application to build the city's first mosque at 998 San Antonio Road, said Esmail Essabhoy, an active member of the local Islamic community and a Palo Alto resident for more than 30 years.

Right now, the closest mosques to Palo Alto are in Fremont and San Jose, he said.

On Friday night, the group gathered at the San Antonio site to celebrate the end of Ramadan, a monthlong period of fasting, in a converted church currently serving as a community center until it is demolished to make way for the mosque.

"It's a place for our community to get together and have our prayers, but it's not officially a mosque," Essabhoy said.

The building's greatest deficiency is that it does not point toward Mecca, the Muslim holy city, he said.

Architect John Barton, also a city council member in Palo Alto, said the prayer hall of the proposed mosque will actually face 19 degrees east of north - the direction of the shortest route to Mecca (imagine a rubber band stretched around the curve of a globe).

Barton used a Web site called the "Great Circle Calculator" to help determine the latitude and longitude of Palo Alto and Mecca and then plotted accordingly.

While the building's design is still conceptual, Barton said the group wanted a modern aesthetic, or "something that belonged in Silicon Valley," he said.

Certain elements of traditional Islamic architecture like arches, crenellations or the use of certain patterns, may be incorporated into the design, Barton said.

The new mosque will be built on the land where the community center sits now. The local Islamic community raised the funds to buy the parcel two and a half years ago.

"But we had no money after that because you know how expensive property is in Palo Alto," Essabhoy said.

Luckily, the construction of the mosque, estimated to cost somewhere between $2.5 million and $3 million, will be entirely funded through a donation from a single family, he said.

Essabhoy said the group is hoping that their leader in Mumbai, India will attend the mosque's inauguration, slated for early 2010. Though His Holiness Dr. Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin is 94 years old, Essabhoy said he has traveled to the Bay Area before.

"Two years back he inaugurated the mosque in Fremont," he said.

Samina Sundas, national chair of the American Muslim Voice, said from her Palo Alto office on Friday that building a local worship center would help educate Palo Alto residents on the Islamic community.

"People don't have any idea about who Muslims are," she said. "Having a mosque would be a really wonderful thing."

Comment: Who is funding this?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing these muslims are building a state of the art facility for themselves. Heavens knows their bruthren in Somalia and Sudan don't need any financial assistance. What a waste.