The Star Tribune this morning featured this article about a community of Muslims winning a unanimous vote in favor of their purchase of a building for a new mosque. They bought an old post office building, intend to keep the post office open, and intend to have prayer services and conduct tutoring and other events for the public. Looks like a great new opportunity for a community center for Muslims in the North West suburbs, and a good chance for some good public programs as well. (My mind automatically goes to… free Arabic lessons??) Though it is sad that this was a controversy at all, and of course, the paper does gloss over the few people who showed up and testified that the existence of such a mosque was “treasonous” and dangerous. But the unanimous vote makes me believe that at least the local leaders here are functioning in their right minds.
Perhaps the amusing part at the end of the article is the two sentences that are meant to contextualize the whole thing, a couple of “by the way” or “incase you were unaware of why this is important” sentences. In this article, those sentences are:There are nearly 150,000 Muslims in the metro area who worship at an estimated 120 mosques, community centers and other sites.
Minnesota has the largest Somali Muslim population in the country.
I do find it intriguing that he mentioned the Somali community at the very end, even though we hadn’t been talking about Somalis for the entire article. But for news readers who don’t follow this type of thing every day, I suppose that little bit of context is very important.
I also found an MPR segment on this topic, which is a little bit less rosy about how “unanimous” the decision was: however it is great for some direct quotes for what occurred at the hearing. (Especially when one of the City Council members yells “SIT DOWN!” and the guy who says “THIS IS TREASON!”)