LONGVIEW, TEXAS (KYTX) Construction on Longview's first mosque is now complete. The Muslim community built the mosque on Amy street, a quiet dead end street just outside the city limits.
The construction initially caused concern for neighbors. The mosque will officially open for public prayers Friday afternoon at 2p.m. Leaders say, for the most part, the community has accepted them.
It is not something you've ever seen in Longview before - the city's first mosque. Although the Muslim community has been meeting for years. "The community here has been meeting in an apartment complex on McCann road for about 20 years," explains Saleem Shabazz with the Islamic Center of Longview.
When this land on Amy street was donated, the Muslim community thought it would be the perfect location. But for many on this street, they thought this mosque would only be a nuisance. "Why any establishment would come in here and open up something that's going to be open 24 hours a day with traffic in and out. These streets will not accommodate that," said Elizabeth Owens back in October.
Thursday neighbors did not want to go on camera but many told me they have accepted the mosque being on their street while others say they are still concerned with the traffic.
"We are not here to try and create any disturbances, controversies or what have you. We want to be good citizens. All we want is to be allowed to worship in peace, to be a part of the community," says Shabazz.
During the construction, the leaders here have talked to neighbors to solve any traffic problems created by the construction. They also hope to foster a peaceful relationship with everyone along this street no matter the differences they may have.
Leaders sent out a formal invitation to the community and elected officials inviting people to attend the Friday prayers even if they don't plan to participate themselves.
Neighbors worried about an increase in traffic but leaders say that really won't be an issue. Most of the traffic will be on Fridays. Only about a dozen cars will be going to the mosque those days.
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