Islamic Center Planned

May 8, 2007

Author: Serdar Tumgoren

Source: Gilroy Dispatch

Gilroy - A growing Islamic organization hopes to build a mosque, school and interfaith community center on a hilltop just south of Morgan Hill.

Silicon Valley Islamic Center, now based in Morgan Hill, is in the earliest stages of planning its future Cordoba Center for Muslim Community and Religious Affairs. After five years of searching for a permanent home, the organization this month plans to submit initial designs to county planners for a facility at 14065 Monterey Road, in San Martin.

"We have a very fast-growing Muslim community in this area, with a lot of them moving from Silicon Valley," said Sal Akhter, a local developer and president of the organization's board of directors. "We definitely needed something like this. We just never had a critical mass like this until now."

The Islamic center, founded in 1999, has about 75 families registered as members, but Akhter believes the project will help attract many more of the estimated 300 Muslim families between Hollister and Morgan Hill. A grand vision for the 16-acre site in San Martin includes an auditorium and conference center, convalescent home and funeral facility, though the initial phase of the project is expected to be far more modest, Akhter said.