Moorhead mosque finds new home close to former location
MOORHEAD — Moorhead's Islamic community has found a new home about a block away from its former mosque.
The new facility will be in the former 12,000-square-foot Moorhead Electric building at 2215 12th Ave. S. The company was leasing the building from the Lakes Country Service Cooperative of Fergus Falls, which has sold it to the Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Community Center.
Prayers and services are already being held in the new building, said spokesperson Sajid Ghauri.
He said their former home was on the second floor of a building, which made it difficult for older members of the center to navigate the stairways.
The center was granted a conditional use permit by the city's planning commission and city council.
City Planner Robin Huston said the city updated its ordinances earlier this year that allows religious institutions in all zoning districts, except heavy industrial zones. The area where the mosque is located is in a light industrial zone.
She also said parking should not be a problem as the 7-acre site offers plenty of room for off-street parking.
Ghauri said the mosque has about 80 to 100 members, and the organization is in the planning stages of many other activities, including a school for elementary-age children on the 7-acre site.
He said "a lot of work" is left to do on the plan for the school as well as other areas of the 7-acre site and that development will be done in multiple phases.
"We want to do it right and have the right resources," said Ghauri about the school, adding it might take up to five years before it's a reality.
He said it would be a private school for up to fifth-grade students.
However, the center also is planning adult education classes and will be offering classes for the community who may want to learn about the Islamic religion.
"I think there are many misconceptions about our religion," Ghauri said.
It will be the third mosque in the metro area — a mosque in Fargo can hold up to 3,000 people while another smaller mosque is in West Fargo, according to Ghauri.