Growing Muslim population looks to build larger gathering place - KCTV5

Growing Muslim population looks to build larger gathering place in Johnson County

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A model of the new Islamic Center of Johnson County A model of the new Islamic Center of Johnson County

Johnson County has a growing Muslim population, and that budding population is looking to build a larger place to gather.

A house at 151st Street and Antioch Road in Johnson County that was converted into a prayer room for Muslims has reached its limit.

"I tell you when we started this place our Friday congregation would attract 15 to 20 people … today we don't have space for one more person I mean there are people who pray outside braving the cold just because there no space. So this is how we've grown," Arif Ahmad with the Islamic Center of Johnson County said.

Ahmad said the two dozen members have grown to more than 300 and continues to grow.

"We are out of parking every Friday, we don't have space, so we basically are parking on the grass," he said.

So the Islamic Center of Johnson County will start anew.

Directly behind the small house, on the same property, will become a new mosque, at least 97,000 square feet with four components - a gym, a community center, classrooms and the mosque.

It's expected to be the largest mosque in the Kansas City metro.

"So this has become sort of a magnet for families all over the town to move here. I've had families from Lee's Summit move here," Ahmad said.

This isn't the first denomination to build big in the metro. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints dedicated its Kansas City, MO, temple last year. And mega churches in Johnson County, such as the Church of Resurrection, attract more than 10,000 members a week.

There are 15 Islamic centers that serve an estimated 20,000 Muslims in the Kansas City area.

But everything isn't completely finalized for the new mosque. The land is paid for, but the project still needs more funding.

"We have not a substantial amount but a decent amount in the bank and we are looking for another smaller amount to at least kickstart the project, break ground and bring the first phase, which is the mosque," Ahmad said.

The Islamic Center plans to submit building permits to the city of Overland Park. They said they have received support from neighbors in the area. For more information about the mosque, click here.

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