Joint Resolve Gets Mosque Open

May 24, 2007

Author: Gregg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News

WARREN -- By dint of persistence by Muslims, activists and clergy of other faiths, the city's first mosque opens Friday after years of fits and starts.

Leaders for the Islamic Organization of America faced a no vote at their first hearing last year before the Planning Commission. Some intolerant words were uttered, prompting the U.S. Department of Justice to send representatives to the next meeting.

Months later, a drunk accosted the leader of the mosque in the parking lot. Then someone splashed paint on the back wall, in one of a series of recent incidents of vandalism at local mosques.

But as local Muslims busy themselves preparing for the opening, they and others say more Warren residents seem to be coming to an understanding of the Islam in their midst.

"I think that people have a tendency to be somewhat anxious about what they don't know," said Joseph Munem, communications director for the city. "And, actually, we have had an ongoing dialogue about the mosque. Imam Steve Elturk is committed to the notion of educating non-Muslims about Islam.