The brothers that come for prayer predominately work in Hunt Valley and its surrounding areas, some even reside there. The “Hunt Valley Community Center” was registered with the State of Maryland in 2010 as a non- profit organization. Consisting of four founding directors that also comprise the Board of Trustees and seven Board of Directors, the organization was formed to serve the Muslim community north of the city of Baltimore.
Since July of 2010, Dr Syed E. Abidi (owner of Pii) has generously offered the group a room for prayer. This previously unused room has been converted into a mussulah with wall to wall carpeting, a small area for wudu and a place for shoes. The room, although mainly used for Jummah is available for prayer all the time. This past Ramadan, area Muslims were able to perform the Taraweh prayers with an average of twenty-five brothers in attendance says Brother Akbar Ansari one of the founding Directors of the Hunt Valley Community Center.
In the past 20 years “it had been discussed within the Muslim community to establish a center. We never had a critical mass or focused a team to move forward.” says Brother Akbar. With the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) serving those in the East, and The An-Nur Foundation of Maryland serving those in the west, the need for a center in the North became very evident he states.
Seven years ago, members of the community started praying Magrib and Isha daily in Brother Khalid Khan’s (one of the founding directors) home. Qari Zahid, one of the teachers of the Hufaz program at ISB has also been teaching children how to read Quran on a weekly basis in Brother Khalid’s home. Jummah prayers were also started at this same brother’s home, especially for the convenience of people working in Timonium, Cockeysville, and Hunt Valley.
Then in 2009, a core group of Brothers and Sisters got together and discussed how to establish a Muslim Center in Hunt Valley that would offer the five daily prayers to the residents as well as serve as a community center for Muslims living between Towson and Parkton, explains Brother Akbar. As a result, The “Hunt Valley Community Center” was established in 2010. Since that time, the organization has been offering prayers at Pii while looking for a suitable space to rent or purchase.
Nonetheless, the search for a new place has not been without obstacles. There are several factors that need to be considered including size and location. Some properties have been too large, others too small explains Brother Akbar. When deciding on a location issues such as proximity to a restaurant with an alcoholic license, and sufficient parking space without bothersome neighbors nearby are all challenges the group has faced.
Presently, the organization is interested in acquiring a church in Timonium, and is currently undergoing negotiations with the Church Management to purchase this property. Conveniently located off York Rd, and well maintained, the facility has over 10 classrooms, a multi-purpose room, and is fully equipped with kitchen facilities. If acquired, little work will be needed to make the place functional to offer the five daily prayers, Quran classes, and other community activities says Brother Akbar.
The organization will know in a couple of weeks if a price can be mutually agreed upon between both parties. This will be the first step. “The next step will be to rally the community to pitch in and provide enough funds to buy this place” says Brother Akbar. The organization plans to initiate fundraising efforts once a price for the property has been determined.
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