Local News - San Bernardino
New Islamic center embraced
REDLANDS: The groundbreaking ceremony emphasizes the religion's tolerant nature
By ROBERTO HERNANDEZ
REDLANDS - A copy of Islam's holy book lay open on a table.
Pamphlets with such titles as "What is Islam?" and "Islam For Non-Muslims" were on display. A flag decorated with a crescent moon and star was raised.
Inland Muslims ushered themselves into Redlands society Thursday, welcomed by city and religious leaders.
A group of more than 60 Muslims and non-Muslims gathered together at the center Friday for an open house and groundbreaking event that signaled construction of a 15,000-square-foot Islamic center and mosque. The existing center on Alabama Street is housed inside a converted single-story house.
Events at the center and at the University of Redlands will continue today and Sunday.
Friday's events included panel discussion and video shows about Islam and its traditions. Blueprints for the Islamic center were displayed under a large tent.
Dr. Mohammad Hossain, founder of the Redlands-based Islamic Society of California, uttered a brief prayer before the ribbon-cutting and flag-raising ceremonies. Hossain and the society have been leading the center project.
"God, give us peace, give us unity, give us better understanding of each other," he said.
Passages from the Quran, Islam's holy book, were printed on fluorescent blue, yellow and red paper that decorated the tent. A copy of the Quran lay open on a table. Next to it was the Hadith, a compilation of the sayings of the prophet Muhammad.
Organizers said the event was intended to emphasize the peaceful, tolerant nature of Islam to non-Muslims. For example, true Islam respects Jews and Christians and includes many of their important religious figures as its own, including Adam, Noah, Moses and Jesus.
Several non-Muslims said they knew little about Islam and came to learn more, or that they attended as a show of support.
Arthur Gregory, a member of the Baha'i faith that embraces all religions and advocates global peace, said such a gathering could dispel stereotypes of Muslims.
Rabbi Douglas Kohn of the San Bernardino-based Congregation Emanu El said he attended to show that Muslims and Jews can stand side by side and learn from each other at a time when religious strife is common.
"It's an opportunity to demonstrate that the Islamic community is here," he said. "We have Islamic neighbors. We cannot disregard them."
Reach Roberto Hernandez at (909) 583-2308 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Islamic Center of Redlands will continue its open house and groundbreaking activities this weekend.
When and where: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Islamic Center of Redlands, 11210 Alabama St., Redlands; 4-8 p.m., University of Redlands, Casa Loma Room, 1200 E. Colton Ave.
Information: (909) 792-0882, (909) 754-0448
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