Making Peace, and Prayers: Mosque Opens its Doors as Controversy Fades

September 15, 2008

Author: Michael Paulson

Source: The Boston Globe

Sixteen years after 2 acres near Roxbury Crossing were designated for use as a mosque, the area's growing Muslim community has quietly begun using the building for regular worship.

Every night since the start of Ramadan this month, hundreds of Muslims have been gathering for evening prayers at the mosque, now called the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. Officials of the Muslim American Society, which is overseeing the project, say they plan to gradually add activities throughout the fall and winter and hope to hold a formal opening of the building early next year.

The worshipers gathering at the mosque are ecstatic to finally be able to use the building, which has been delayed for years by fund-raising troubles, controversy surrounding various mosque supporters, and litigation. Last year they held three Ramadan services in the building, but it had no walls or concrete floors; now they are in the building nightly. Mosque officials say they have raised, through donations and noninterest loans, $15 million toward the $15.5 million they need to open the building, and the construction work is largely complete.