WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — A group of central Wisconsin Muslims wants to build a mosque in the Wausau area to help meet the growing number of worshippers.
The Islamic Society of Central Wisconsin has purchased a building for the mosque and hopes to have construction complete within the next two years.
Adeel Aslam, a member and general secretary of the Islamic Society of Central Wisconsin, told Daily Herald Media the Muslim community in the region has grown since the first mosque, Masjid Al-Noor, opened nine years ago in Marshfield.
Aslam says the group now is large enough to support a second house of worship.
About 15 families are regular members of the Marshfield mosque, which draws Muslims from the entire north central part of Wisconsin.
The Wausau area has about 30 Muslim families, and a new mosque would also draw members from Stevens Point and areas to the north, Aslam said.
“It has been very difficult for them to have to travel to Marshfield and other cities that have a masjid (a mosque) to attend prayer and services,” he said.
The society is a nonprofit religious organization that founded the Marshfield mosque. The group is fundraising among its members to complete the remodeling of the Wausau building into a mosque, Aslam said.
The Rev. David Klutterman of Wausau’s St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, who long has been involved in the city’s interfaith efforts, said he welcomes the group.
“It represents that Wausau and this area will have representation of the larger world and therefore the challenge will always be before us to somehow see what unites us instead of divides us,” Klutterman said.
Rabbi Dan Danson of Mt. Sinai Congregation said a mosque in Wausau will enrich the cultural life of the community.
“We’ve done interfaith forums (in Wausau) and it’s difficult (to include Muslims) when there isn’t an address for a mosque. This will make it more dynamic,” Danson said.