Charlottesville Mosque to Facilitate Unity

July 9, 2007

Author: Seth Rosen

Source: The Richmond Times-Dispatch

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Inside an aging white house on 10½ Street, Khalid Mohammad chants a mellifluous incantation of the salat al-jumu'ah, the Friday afternoon prayer.

Behind him, more than 70 men and boys, kneeling on the green carpet, bow their heads to the ground in unison and respond: Allahu akbar.

The two-story house, which serves as a mosque and study center for the Islamic Society of Central Virginia, is brimming with people. The congregation spills into every nook of the house, just north of West Main Street. Men -- some dressed in green doctor scrubs, others in T-shirts and jeans, and a few in traditional Islamic robes -- are praying in the hallway, the kitchen and on the brick pathway outside.

And this is a lightly attended prayer service, because few University of Virginia students are in town for the summer.

"When school is in session, . . . not everyone can fit in this place," said Khaled Galal, the society's outreach secretary.

Soon, though, the Charlottesville area's Muslim community will no longer face such space constraints. The society has received preliminary permission from the city to build a new mosque in the Fifeville neighborhood.