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Mosque, community center in works for former Holland Kroger

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Dr. Zaheer Hasan speaks at the Dana Conference Center at the University of Toledo Medical Center Campus, Friday, Sept. 19, 2008.

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A new mosque and community center is coming to Holland.

The Islamic Society of Northwest Ohio recently purchased about 10 acres of land near the intersection of South McCord and Angola roads, including an approximately 36,000-square-foot facility at 850 S. McCord Rd. that formerly housed a Kroger, according to online records through the Lucas County Auditor’s Office.

Dr. S. Zaheer Hasan, spokesman for the Islamic Society, said the community plans to begin renovations on the existing building before the end of the year. In addition to a large prayer hall, the building is expected to encompass a lecture hall, gymnasium, and, possibly, a banquet hall. Future plans include a food pantry and free medical clinic.  

The society hopes to relocate to the new facility in time for Ramadan, which in 2018 will begin in May.

"We hope that the center will be a resource for Islamic information in our community,” Dr. Hasan said. “We will be looking toward inviting the community at large and hope to do a lot of interfaith and intercommunity activities from here."

Dr. Hasan estimated that more than 100 families are plugged into the Islamic Society of Northwest Ohio, which has been gathering in a storefront facility at 1036 North Holland Sylvania Rd. since it organized about three years ago. The congregation does not own the current space, which Dr. Hasan said was never intended to be a long-term home for the community.

“It’s getting extremely tight,” he said. “This place has served us well for the last three years, but we have always been looking for a bigger place.”

The location of the new facility is particularly appealing, Dr. Hasan said. While many of the community’s mosques are located in the north and south ends of the city, he said the new facility will stand out as easily accessible to Muslims in communities like Holland, Springfield Township, Sylvania, Maumee, Waterville, and central Toledo.

“We feel that the Muslim population is growing, so there’s a need for proximity,” Dr. Hasan said.

The Islamic Society purchased the Holland property for $1.275 million, according to the auditor’s website. It is one of at least 10 mosques in the Toledo area. Dr. Hasan said they are working closely with these other community centers as they move ahead with plans for the new facility.

Imam Farooq S. Aboelzahab is the spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Nicki Gorny at ngorny@theblade.com or 419-724-6133.

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