Bahai News -- Redlands Daily Facts - A great and historical day Article Last Updated: Monday, February 24, 2003 - 5:01:39 PM PST

A great and historical day

ISLAMIC CENTER: Redlands Islamic Center is celebrating its grand opening and groundbreaking this weekend.

By Jaya Jiwatram
Staff Writer

REDLANDS Its a successful day, really, said Mohammad Hossain on Friday about the start of the three-day grand opening and groundbreaking of the Redlands Islamic Center at 11210 Alabama St.

Hossain, founder of the Redlands Islamic Center and a physician in Redlands, was so excited about the first day of the opening ceremonies that he forgot to wear his tie, said his 22-year-old daughter Angel Hossain, who currently attends Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

She added, jokingly, that she was so excited that she forgot to bring his tie.

Crystal Hossain, 18, a sophomore at the University of Redlands, said she was delighted about the center, because now she will have a place to pray closer to home.

I remember having to wake up at 5 in the morning to go pray in Riverside, she said.

The grand opening was filled with events including prayers from the Koran, a ribbon cutting and groundbreaking ceremony, the raising of the Islamic flag, question-and-answer sessions, several speeches, educational sessions and video presentations.

The Redlands High School Wind Ensemble also played several pieces, including the national anthem.

Redlands Mayor Kasey Haws and Police Chief Bueermann were among the guests, ranging from pastors to local residents, who came to celebrate the opening.

Haws spoke to an attentive crowd Friday, welcoming them to a great and historical day.

Haws praised the many unique traits of Redlands, including its religious and spiritual growth and religious architecture.

The community is thoughtful, intelligent and diverse, said Haws. We embrace all opportunities to converse and share all religious philosophies.

The community also has a sense of history, he said, that is reflected in the grand trees that line the streets and the beautiful architectural designs of buildings like the Smiley library and the post office on Brookside Avenue.

The mosque that the Islamic Center will build will be a beautiful addition to the city, said Haws.

I have yet to a hear a single contrary opinion about the Islamic center, said Haws, adding that approving the center was one of the easiest votes for the City Council.

The Islamic Center, said Bueermann, will blend perfectly with the rich cultural mosaic that makes up Redlands.

The world is a diverse place, he added, and we are richer as people when we embrace diversity.

The center will not only add to the rich culture of Redlands, but it will also be a place of learning, said Bueermann.

When people lack knowledge about a religion, he said, they grow apprehensive about it and create misconceptions.

Having a mosque built in the city, especially at this time in the worlds history, said Bueermann, will make people more culturally aware.

He added that Hossain is a participant of the Cops and Clergy Network and that he looks forward to increased opportunities to work with him.

The center is not only a place for prayer, said Angel Hossain. It is a also a place of edification for the community.

Hopefully people will understand Islam better and dispel any misconceptions they had about it, said several Islamic center members, including Salma Rasheed, Humera Mehmood and Riaz Baqai.

Members of various religious institutions, including religious leaders from neighboring cities, came to the event to show their appreciation.

Im here to support people who live in our community and reach out as a neighbor to build a relationship with them, said Tim Boyer, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Redlands.

Jay Moses, also a pastor at First Presbyterian, said I just like the culture; Ive always enjoyed Middle Eastern culture and Islamic culture.

We are in need of an Islamic voice in Redlands to talk about peace, said Moses.

Im very excited, said Art Gregory from the Bahai faith in Redlands. I think the community is showing theyre big enough to accept all faiths.A great and historical day

©Copyright 2003, Redlands Daily Facts (CA, USA)

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