Community Joins Mosque Opening in Sheepshead Bay

Outside the MAS Sheepshead Bay Community Center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue (Photo by Alex Ellefson via Sheepshead Bites)

Cutting the ribbon outside the MAS Sheepshead Bay Community Center at 2812 Voorhies Ave. (Photo by Alex Ellefson via Sheepshead Bites)

A mosque in Sheepshead Bay opened its doors on July 14 with community members and advocates joining public officials, interfaith leaders, and police officers at the opening ceremony, reports Alex Ellefson for Sheepshead Bites. Adding a bit of fanfare to the event, Mayor Bill de Blasio named a day in honor of the opening of the mosque, known as the Muslim American Society (MAS) Sheepshead Bay Community Center. The construction of the house of worship was an effort years in the making.

The mosque’s proposal in 2009 spurred furious, sometimes racially-tinged protests and eventually a legal effort to block its construction. However, even after winning permission from the city to move forward, the congregation still had a long way to go before their dreams would be realized. For more than two years, they prayed inside an abandoned Burger King on Knapp Street, across from a wastewater treatment plant, while scraping together funds to complete the building.

Ibrahim Mossallam, the MAS New York outreach director, described how the mosque will provide a space for community engagement.

“This is going to make us push even harder to be better community activists and advocates as well as push our children and youth to be exemplary American citizens,” he said.

Speakers at the opening ceremony related the years-long effort to the struggles of immigrants who came before. Go to Sheepshead Bites to read what they said.

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