Connecticut Muslims Open New Mosque in Former Bowling Alley

February 2, 2002

Source: The Hartford Courant

On February 2, 2002, The Hartford Courant reported that "after years of worshiping in rented space while enduring failed attempts to establish a place of their own, [central Connecticut] Muslims have what they have been searching for... The mosque is in a former bowling alley turned office building... The congregation does not yet have an imam, a Muslim religious leader, and plans for a library and kitchen will have to wait until funding improves. But just having a site for the 44 member families devoted to the Shiite branch of Islam to maintain their religious and cultural identity is a big improvement... The two leaders of the mosque also want it to become integrated and accepted into the community, especially in the aftermath of Sept. 11. They are planning to have an open house in the next few months and said the building will be made available for use by the general public... 'We want to tell them [the community] that we are one of them and they are one of us,' said Rizvi, a Wethersfield resident who came from Lahore, Pakistan. 'We want to be part of Middlefield, like we are part of Connecticut and part of the United States'... The newly opened mosque points to the region's changing religious and ethnic demographics. People within this traditonally white, middle-class, Christian town said they embrace the newcomers. Middlefield's religious offerings have already expanded greatly in the past few years with the opening of a Tabernacle church and an Eckankar temple. Eckankar believes in exploring other planes of existence through soul travel... Dale Azevedo, pastor of the Middlefield Federated Church, said he would like to see members of his congregation meet with the Muslims to discuss ideas of faith and values and bridge any misconceptions that exist."