The Muslim population is growing in southern Arizona, and soon, local leaders and their more than 10,000 members will have a new mosque to worship in.
For years, the Islamic Center of Tucson, located near the University of Arizona, has been a target for trash.
Broken bottles have been repeatedly thrown into the parking lot from nearby balconies of student housing complexes.
Last year, some students were evicted for throwing garbage on the mosque
Mosque leaders say the vandalism; however, is not the reason for the Muslim Community Center of Tucson on the Northwest side.
“That is not the reason why this location was established. It is purely our growth, the community growing, and the needs of the community growing,” said Maqsood Ahmad, a board member at the mosque.
Construction on the first phase started in 2014. It will be located at 5100 N. Kevy Place, which is just northwest of River Road and La Canada Drive.
The gym and community center portion has been completed and now that area is being used for hundreds to pray in daily.
“The Muslim community is [also] growing. We have a lot of new professionals doctors and engineers coming to Tucson to practice their faith. We need to provide more services and more locations,” Ahmad said.
Renderings have been submitted to Pima County for review of the new mosque.
Leaders expect the drawings to be approved some time this month.
Once the permits go through, crews will break ground on the mosque portion.
The Muslim Community Center of Tucson will be around 23,000 square feet when complete.
The Islamic Center of Tucson, near the UA, is approximately 9,000 square feet.
The northwest mosque will have significantly more parking and room for future growth.
It will also have few neighbors and no high-rise buildings near it. Leaders don’t expect any problems.
“That is an administrative issue that that needs to be dealt with. Throwing bottles or rocks at any place of worship should not be permissible and should not be allowed. I am very confident that the city of Tucson and the University of Arizona administration will take care of those issues; and they are taking care of those issues; however, that is not the reason why this location was established.”
Once completed, it will be one of the biggest in Arizona and one of only two in Pima County.
The project will be complete by June 2017.