Finances Set Back Mosque Completion

March 21, 2007

Author: Edythe Jensen

Source: The Arizona Republic

CHANDLER - Construction on Chandler's first mosque has been languishing for years, and some neighbors say they're tired of the dust, debris and the skeleton of a building.

When models of the Islamic Center of the East Valley showing a tower, a dome and gardens were made public in 2002, planners said they expected it to be finished within a year. But a financial crunch is causing the delays and post-9/11 fundraising has been more difficult than expected, said Arif Kazmi, former chairman of the Chandler Human Relations Commission and project director.

"There is a fear in some people that the mosque may take money and send it out of the country, to the Middle East or Africa," Kazmi said.

Because the Islamic faith dictates they cannot borrow money for construction, work on the building is done only when donated funds are available, he said. Extra care is being taken to show contributors that money is going only to construction, he said.