Written by Katherine M. Trager Friday, 29 July 2011 00:00
After many months of planning, deliberation and compromise, the Islamic Center of Long Island is beginning construction on a 19,000 square-foot addition to its Brush Hollow Road site. Groundbreaking for the new structure, which is envisioned as a future hub of learning, recreation and interfaith partnerships, was celebrated on the morning of July 23 with a community ceremony.
“We are delighted that all of you are joining us on this happy and important day to launch the next phase of ICLI,” said Faroque Khan, ICLI Expansion Project Coordinator.
“Upon completion of this project, we will have proper classrooms and pre-K for our children and grandchildren. We will have recreational facilities for our retirees, exercise facilities, a state-of-the-art library and an Interfaith Institute,” Khan said.
The Institute will be linked to religious education departments at universities, as well as other interfaith councils. Additional meeting rooms are also planned for the frequent conferences ICLI hosts with various religious organizations, including Interfaith Alliance, LICC (Long Island Council of Churches) and LI-CAN (Long Island Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods).
The new development will also provide a special section for memorial services for the deceased.
Khan also addressed the concerns of neighbors in close proximity to the mosque. Residents have spoken at past community forums regarding traffic and parking that overflows onto residential streets, especially on Friday services and holidays.
“We are pleased to inform you that the Friday services have now been split into two services,” said Khan, adding that, “We are also exploring off-site options for holidays.”
“Looking ahead, we welcome all of you to visit and use our facilities for your personal and community needs,” Khan told the audience. “This institution, which we can all be proud of, will leave a legacy of charity and knowledge which is well-grounded in faith,” he stated.
Khan gave special thanks to Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro and the Westbury Board of Trustees for working with ICLI as well as with the surrounding community.
“This board is proud of the fact that ICLI is here in Westbury. There are people of faith and goodwill here who want to do good things in the community. We realize how important it is that, for ICLI to do the work that it wants to do, they have to have the right facilities,” stated Mayor Cavallaro.
“I’m extremely proud of the Westbury community. The residents had legitimate concerns, but they were open-minded and willing to listen to the genuine needs of ICLI. We were able to come to a real solution that meets everybody’s needs. There are going to be impacts, but I think they’re going to be mitigated, and the project as a whole is going to be a tremendous asset to the community,” Cavallaro added.
Mayor Cavallaro and Habeeb Ahmed, Chairman of ICLI’s Board of Trustees, will be honored in November at Hofstra University’s Celebration of Suburban Diversity Banquet for their roles in the project.
“Hopefully, in another year-and-a-half, we’ll have our opening ceremony,” said Ahmed.