COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Islamic Center of Central Missouri in Columbia is finally moving forward with an expansion project after nearly two decades of planning.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has approved building a two-story facility behind the center’s mosque and school. The Columbia City Council will need to sign off on the expansion project in coming weeks, the Columbia Missourian reported.
The community has outgrown the center’s existing space, said Imam Misbahu Musbahu. The center sometimes has to split worshippers into two sections to fit everyone.
The new building will contain classrooms, a gym, kitchen, storage space and bathrooms. The facility is intended to support the Islamic Center’s efforts to donate food for the homeless and help refugees with language barriers and job hunting.
The expansion project is estimated to cost $800,000 or more, according to outreach coordinator Shakir Hamoodi. The center’s leaders need about $400,000 to begin construction and they’re already halfway there, Hamoodi said.
“I really hope it finally happens, because this mosque is getting really, really small for our community,” said Farah El-Jayyousi, who started a LaunchGood campaign to help fund the expansion project.
The online crowdfunding campaign has generated more than $130,000 so far, mostly through small donations under $10, El-Jayyousi said.
“In our faith there is a saying by the Prophet Muhammad that the best deeds are those that are done consistently even if they are small,” she said.
The center hopes to begin construction in November.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com