Congregation Wants Kensington Mosque Reopened

(Photo by Zainab Iqbal via BKLYNER)

The congregation of Masjid Nur Al-Islam in Kensington’s Bangladeshi enclave wants the now locked mosque to return to the community and to reopen after it was abruptly closed on Thanksgiving by an unlikely figure – the imam. BKLYNER’s Zainab Iqbal attended a Dec. 1 press conference held by worshippers.

The conflict dates back to the summer. The reporter writes:

In August 8, the imam, Jauhar Ahmed, resigned after alleged claims of embezzlement. According to Maruf Alam, the Director of Community Affairs at New York State Assembly, the Kensington community raised about $350,000 to purchase the property next door to the 21 Church Ave mosque. It turned out, the imam never brought the building. What he did instead, was he brought the community mosque (with his trustees), became the owner of it, and changed the name to Islam Community Trust as Trustee.

“He found a gap in the law,” a congregant said. “And now owns the masjid.”

“People asked for money back, the money disappeared,” Alam told BKLYNER. The imam was then forced to resign. “He resigned because the community forgave him. But we are taking legal action.”

Then, on Thanksgiving night, Ahmed came to the mosque “with court papers saying a court date of a hearing to evict the people. He kicked everyone out,” said Kamil Nasir, a mosque trustee. Now the congregation wants their mosque back.

As dozens of men waited for the Friday press conference to start to air their grievances, some hung up a poster. Then suddenly the mosque doors opened and four men emerged, one with a pair of scissors. What came next involved shoving, the NYPD and shouts of “Shame!” Go to BKLYNER for the details, and video, of what happened, and for more from congregants on the imam who one described as a “fine man everyone loved.”

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