California Mosque Grows Against All Odds

CAIRO – Surviving several shootings and arson attacks, California’s Islamic Society of Palm Springs is planning to expand its space, in order to accommodate growing Muslim community.

“When we have our end of Ramadan prayers we have them outside, if we were to have the same prayers inside, we wouldn’t fit,” Imam Reymundo Nour told The Desert Sun.

“We have outgrown the space so we need a larger facility.”

Nour is the acting imam of the Islamic Society of Palm Springs which came under a firebombing attack last December 11.

The December attack was not the first time The Islamic Society of Palm Springs was the victim of a hate crime.

In 2014, somebody driving by opened fire at the mosque at 84650 Ave. 49 in Coachella. No one was injured in the attack.

Despite the growing hate attacks, the mosque has recently bought the vacant lot next door to build it as a mosque and a community center.

The new construction will include classrooms, a social hall, and enough room to fit twice as many worshipers as its current space.

Along with expanding space, the mosque officials planned several events to reach out to their neighbors.

Through a lecture series, “Understanding Islam,” the mosque hopes to share its faith with the Coachella Valley throughout the year, said acting Imam Nour.

The next lecture, which will be on the Qur’an, will be Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage.

“We decided that rather than being reactive we are going to be proactive,” he said.

“Hopefully when these incidents happen – and we don’t want these incidents to happen but if they do – people who have taken the time to really sit in our lectures will know that that is not what Muslims are about.”

The number of hate groups operating in the US increased from 784 in 2014 to 892 last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Those groups include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, black separatists, as well as other groups targeting Muslims, immigrants, and the LGBT community.