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New mosque envisioned for Short Pump

Published: Jun. 6, 2012 at 2:27 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2012 at 3:36 AM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Another mosque is in the works for Henrico County, this time in the most densely populated place, yet.

Drawings made public by the West End Islamic Center (WEIC) call for the new, roughly 13,000 square foot building to go in a wooded area where Shady Grove and Twin Hickory Roads meet in Short Pump.

A passerby would hardly call it more than an empty house, but that's the tiny place the WEIC currently calls home at Shady Grove and Twin Hickory.

Now, plans first made public on the center's web site call for that single-level, temporary house of worship to be knocked down. It would be replaced with a distinctive two-story mosque including space for prayer and school. Board members say it would help fellow Muslims worship -five times a day- closer to where they live and work.

"As the community's growing we've been trying to have a place here, locally, where our kids don't have to travel half an hour, 40 minutes or more," said Irfan Hasan of the WEIC, referring to the Islamic Center of Virginia (ICV) in Chesterfield.

Soon, the ICV will have plenty of company. Plans for the building in Short Pump represent the third such mosque to be designed for Henrico County's west end dating back to last year.

There's the mosque under construction in Lakeside, and the other future mosque being debated along Hungary Road. Both moved forward after Henrico's government got a lesson, last year, in religious sensitivity.

However, neighbors, this time, had few immediate concerns.

"Traffic control, that's my concern," said Patty Winters of Twin Hickory, adding, "And, that light's helping, but it's not always obeyed."

"I think everybody should have the opportunity to be able to worship where they want to worship," said Steven Frank of Shady Grove Meadows.

One day, that place of worship may become more than a one-story house.

"We're definitely very motivated and very optimistic about the project," Hasan said.

The plans are considered preliminary and have not been submitted to Henrico County for approval. At this time, leaders of the WEIC can't even say what year they'd expect the mosque to be complete.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.