Gainesville Islamic Center Expands to Meet Needs

September 26, 2006

Source: AccessNorthGA

On September 26, 2006 AccessNorthGA reported, "Growth in Northeast Georgia's Muslim population is prompting the Gainesville Islamic Center to expand. Imam Bilal Ali said that the Center has been at its current Summitt Street location since 1994, when it moved across street from a house it occupied since its establishment in the early 1980s. Membership is now at 160, with more growth expected. 'We're doing some cosmetic work in the front part of the mosque, and in the back of the mosque we are expanding because we are out of room. We have a piece of property directly behind the Mosque where, in the next couple of years, we are going to build a new facility from the ground up,' he said, 'Hopefully, by the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008 we're going to start on our new mosque.' Ali attributes the recent growth of Islam in part to the exposure the religion has received in the media. 'The more they talk about Islam, the more people are encouraged to learn about it,' he said, 'Actually since September 11, the community has more than doubled since that time. We have a lot more Muslims here. A lot of people are inquisitive and want to know more things about Islam.' He said that when the American media talks negatively about Islam, it prompts the neighbors of Muslims to ask questions and step to their neighbors’ defense. These people often become Muslim themselves, Ali says, based on their experience with the character of their Muslim neighbors."