Plymouth Minnesota: city council votes unanimously to approve Islamic centre

Muslim families in the northwest metro suburbs, who for years have moved from one place to another for prayer services, won approval Tuesday night for a mosque that will share space with Plymouth’s post office.

The Plymouth City Council voted unanimously to approve the Northwest Islamic Community Center’s purchase and move into the building. The center plans to remodel it for family activities and to serve the worship needs of about 40 Muslim families centered in the Plymouth area.

“We welcome you to our community,” Council Member Bob Stein said after the vote.

The center would be open for daily prayer and might begin a Sunday school program, said Najam Qureshi, a database manager who chairs the Islamic center’s board. Activities will be offered to the public, including tutoring sessions for kids.

The post office was scheduled to close, but the Islamic center proposes to keep open the customer service counter by leasing part of the building back to the U.S. Postal Service. Most other operations at the post office were moved last year to St. Louis Park.

The vote, which followed an hour of respectful testimony and deliberation in a meeting of about 250 people, came on the heels of a more contentious Planning Commission meeting last week. At least two people during that meeting suggested allowing the mosque would be inappropriate and even treasonous.

Star Tribune, 23 August 2011