By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
A building under construction in Richmond will be the new home of the city's Masjid, which is a Muslim place of worship.
The Richmond Planning and Zoning Department received plans for the Masjid last year, according to department director Jason Hart.
The Masjid is at 1048 Center Drive, which is near the US 25 and Eastern Bypass intersection.
The building is 11,136 square feet in an area that is zoned for business.
“A church is not allowed in all zones,” Hart said in an interview earlier this summer. “They're permitted as conditional use in single-family, multi-family business and professional (zones).”
The current place of worship, 203 Hanover Street, was purchased more than two decades ago by Eastern Kentucky University students and Muslim physicians in the community, based on information provided by the Masjid of Richmond and Drs. Safooh Allouch, Rizwan Akhtar, Asad Jadoon and Nadeem Khan.
“With the city's approval, it was converted to a place of worship and has exempt religious status with the City of Richmond PVA (Property Valuator Administrator) and is in good standing with the Kentucky Secretary of State since July 28, 2004, when it was registered as a nonprofit organization,” the release states.
The congregation is almost completely comprised of EKU students who come from Gulf States through scholarship programs.
“All these students already have jobs in their home countries and they receive tuition and living expenses from their respective governments,” the information reads. “The number of this rotating and transient congregation has increased to several hundred since the inception of this program in the early '90s.”
The house on Hanover Street has been in a state of decay and sustained considerable damage when a tree fell on the roof during the snowstorm of 2009.
“Based on these persistent problems, managing members and students eventually decided in 2010 to build a new place at a donated parcel of land at Center Drive,” the release states. “Multiple fund drives in Lexington, London and Somerset raised the money needed for the project.”
More information about Richmond's Masjid can be learned at masjidofrichmond.com.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6608.