Mosque planned for Orem

 
Mosque

Some news outlets have suggested the Masjid Shah Faisal, the Shah Faisal Mosque, in Islamabad, Pakistan (pictured above) will serve as a template for the design of the planned Orem mosque.

A meeting of local citizens held at Utah Valley University on Oct. 10, confirmed Orem will receive its first mosque.

The new mosque, construction of which is set to begin sometime in the near future, was approved by both the local community of observant Muslims as well as non-Muslim Orem residents, who came together at the UVU meeting to voice their support for the building of a mosque.

The mosque, which was approved last year by the Orem City Planning Committee, will go up at 900 South State St. in Orem. In all, the mosque will occupy about two acres of land and meet the needs of the roughly 100 Muslims in Orem, both Sunni and Shia, who currently meet in a room in the University Parkway Mall for their religious services.

The closest mosque from Orem is in Salt Lake City.

The purpose of the October meeting this year was to address any concerns by local citizens and further explain the plans for building the mosque.

Professor Masood Amin, a professor of engineering at UVU and a faithful Muslim, expressed his excitement for Orem’s first mosque during a panel discussion comprised of a local city planner involved in the project, Professor James Toronto of Brigham Young University, a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies, Professor Amin and Iranian UVU student Reza Taba.

“Having a mosque in Orem is a win-win situation for both Muslims and Mormons in Orem,” Amin said. “Muslims will have a mosque more conveniently located for their worship services, and Mormons, especially students at BYU and UVU, will benefit from the cross- cultural exchange that comes with inter-religious cooperation.”

Reza Taba, another faithful Muslim on the panel, agreed.

“A mosque in Orem will not only be a blessing to local Muslims, but will also show to outsiders that Utah Valley is becoming more diverse and welcoming to non-Mormon religions,” Taba said. “The stereotype that Mormons are intolerant or close-minded will be challenged with the building of a mosque in Orem.”

Besides clarifying aspects of Islam for non-Muslim visitors, Toronto also emphasized the importance of religious pluralism in modern society, drawing parallels between the treatment of Mormonism and Islam as minority religions within the larger context of American society.

Both, he said, have had plenty of religious intolerance directed at them, and therefore encouraged Mormons to sympathize with their Muslim neighbors.

“The position of Muslims in Orem today is a microcosm for all religious minorities,” Toronto said. “Mormons especially should sympathize with modern Muslims, given Mormonism’s history as a religious minority in American culture.”

Although support for the new mosque from non-Muslim citizens of Orem has been overwhelming, a few citizens, according to the panel, expressed their concern over the plans for a mosque at the initial meeting last year. Concerns ranged from zoning and construction complications to fears of increased traffic on State Street. One or two citizens also felt uncomfortable with a mosque on personal religious grounds, but their opposition to the mosque has been the minority opinion.

Both Professors Amin and Taba expressed their thanks to the many non-Muslims, especially students and professors of Arabic and Islamic Studies at BYU, for their support of the construction of the mosque.

“Nothing,” Amin said, “can replace the importance of personal interaction between members of different religions when it comes to fostering understanding and tolerance.”

 

3 comments

  1. So, Muslims are concerned about Utah Valley becoming more religiously diverse and less “intolerant” and “close-minded”? Really? Too bad the Islamic countries they come from are so closed-minded and religiously intolerant that they won’t even open their borders to Mormons or other Christians. What’s infinitely worse is that they murder their own people who convert to Mormonism or any other non-Muslim faith under the twisted guise of “honor killings.” It would be nice if Mormons could proselyte and build chapels and temples in Islamic countries the way Muslims do in the US. But, the extreme religious intolerance and honor killings in those Islamic countries won’t allow that.

    Oh wait…I forgot…it’s not PC to talk about those incontrovertible facts. We’ll just pretend those things don’t exist and be PC and say that Americans, and, in UT, the Mormons, are the problem and that Americans and Mormons need to be sensitized and culturally educated. Nah…let’s be honest and not perpetuate the duplicity and blindness of political correctness. Before any Muslim counsels any American or Mormon or other Christian about tolerance and open mindedness, they should get their own countries to stop honor killings and open their borders to other religions. While I embrace the freedom our country provides Muslims to build their Mosques and worship (as long as that worship doesn’t involve killing other Americans in the name of Allah), they really shouldn’t tell anyone to be more tolerant or open-minded. The duplicity is sickening.

    • Alan Habel /

      Although, the past can be remembered and is what it is most often the understanding of why something happened isn’t really understood by most. Their are only hundreds compared to the many millions that are Muslims that don’t feel the way that the extremists do. The actions of those Taliban and Al-Qaeda were funded by the U.S in the Afghan war and it was really without oversight for the most part. It spilled over into Pakistan and other neighboring nations and actually permeated some of the schools like Madrasssa’s. Not to preach to anyone, but the intolerance of religion in any country sets us on the same path as intolerantly acting extremists. I have learned as of late that my ignorance leads me to take the path that seems easiest but it really isn’t. Because that pathway is Hate and I hate that it is at my back door and at my front. We have within us the ability to act in law and act in love at the same time. Tolerance is the sign of the ship docking in a safe harbor. We can administer tolerance and demand that of ourself’s just as we can demand the adherence to the laws of the land to everybody that comes here. We should all be tolerant and vigilant to the laws both in making and obeying what we have already written.

  2. Shaina /

    I think your outlook is simplistic here. Most developing countries have foundations rooted in neo-colonialism which neither showed respect to people nor geography when creating borders out of the shambles of the countries they left behind. This has been the foundation for intense conflict in which minority hatred is rooted. This is not to be confused with RACIAL hate. This is conflict over power and resources in the post colonial state.

    In retrospect the U.S. is FOUNDED on the idea that all are created equal and STILL we face the issues of race and minority equality to this day.

    Clearly you haven’t traveled to Asia, because there is a Christian church if not a Mormon one in almost every town of every developing country since before colonial times. The way the Church’s operate are by targeting the poor and offering them a way out of their poverty through religion and other resources. However, many have created great educational institutions and relationships with the communities they exist in. We know that Mormon missions thrive because of the very fact that countries DO allow them to proselytize with very few exceptions.

    Islam on the other hand does not do this. Islam has no organized proselytization. The Muslims of this community only ask that they may have their own place of worship. Islam is a decentralized religion that is highly tolerant of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds SINCE ITS INCEPTION. I think you know where i am going here…

    I hope this sheds light on some new considerations with regard to this argument. I personally think the Mosque will be a great addition to the community. In a community that values modesty and family values, why wouldn’t you embrace the Mosque to uphold and reinforce the values that many other communities lack? Its a win-win for both the Muslim and Mormon community. I think you’ll be surprised to find out how many lifestyle/cultural similarities there are between the two faiths.

Feel strongly (or maybe not)? Comment away.