Utica Mosque Seeks Expansion

March 16, 2004

Source: The Utica Observer-Dispatch


On March 16, 2004 The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported, "The Muslim Community Association seeks a bigger building to serve the growing Islamic community in the Utica area. There are several thousand Bosnian refugees, nearly all of them Muslim, in the city. The addition of so many Muslims to Utica's population in the past 11 years has given the city one of the highest concentrations of Muslim residents in the country. In 1994, Utica's Kemble Street mosque opened with little fanfare in a former Jehovah's Witnesses hall. Those who founded the mosque -- one year after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center -- said at the time they wanted to keep its opening low key because some Americans misunderstood Islam and linked it to violence. The property was already zoned as a church, and 'the neighbors were very nice' when the Muslim Community Association moved in, founding member Sala Qazi said. The one-story building is open five times a day for salat (prayers), offers religious instruction for children during the school year and summer school for them in July and August."