On Jan. 25, the Islamic Center of Eastside (ICOE), alongside Bellevue officials and residents, participated in a groundbreaking ceremony in celebration of a new mosque.
The center has endured major hardships in the last three years. In January 2017, the original mosque, which the new construction is replacing, was damaged by an arson, which resulted in the vacancy of the building. The structure was hit with another arson in March 2018, at which time its utilities had been shut off. In the interim, the center has been using a facility on Northeast 21st Street.
One of the center’s founding members, Farida Hakim, voiced a particular appreciation for the support from members of the Eastside Interfaith Social Concerns Council (Hakim is a board member of the council), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and city officials including Councilmember John Stokes, former mayor John Chelminiak, city manager Brad Miyake, and project manager Faheem Darab during the transitional period.
With the proper permitting now secured and the original building torn down, it’s estimated that work on the replacement structure will take about 14 months. Completion is expected between March and April 2021.
The building will be two stories, include 23 on-site parking stalls and stand some 4,800 square feet.
The project costs $3.3 million in total. The center currently has about $1.4 million and plans to fundraise the remaining $1.9 million by the end of February. More fundraising information, including dates, will be available soon, according to the ICOE website.
Hakim, who is also an advisory council member for the Muslim Community Resource Center, said the social concerns council board members — which includes delegates from Mercer Island, Bellevue, Redmond and other cities — have been contributing and supporting since 2017.
Hakim spoke of the importance of the rebuild, and said she’s looking forward to getting to know neighbors and inviting them to the new, rebuilt mosque.
“The mosque is a gathering place, much like all the other faith organizations organize their spaces for their congregation to come to attend the services,” Hakim said. “Our organized effort is to have a place where our members can fulfill their obligations to pray five times a day…for me, [the importance of] rebuilding again, and that space, would be, how can we get to know our neighbors, how can we serve in our capacity to reach out to people who need help? That’s our service in action.”
To see the conceptual design and learn more about the rebuild, go to the ICOE website (https://bit.ly/2OjjQ9x).