Muslims Open Mosque in Lima, Peru

Muslims Open Mosque in Lima, Peru
(Tuesday, July 12, 2016) 11:19

More than 200 people gathered at the Lima Mosque in the Peruvian capital city Friday for the grand opening and a dinner in celebration of Eid Al-Fitr.

The mosque, located at 1800 Allentown Road, is the first building in Lima to be dedicated wholly to Islam. While the mosque has been in operation for about six months, the Islamic Society of Greater Lima wanted to open its doors to the public and educate the community about the faith.

"A lot of young people get their information from the internet or television,” said Adel Shaheen. "We want to educate people what Islam is about. We are not a judge of people. The ultimate judge of people is God.”

Shaheen said having a permanent facility will help the approximately 200 members in connecting with people of other faiths and to educate against fear.

"We will be giving lectures, inviting people to come in and ask questions,” Shaheen said.

The celebration of Eid Al-Fitr is a special fast-breaking celebration at the end of Ramadan. Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar-based Muslim calendar, was June 7 to July 6 this year. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during Ramadan, also performing acts of charity and quitting bad habits.

Dondi Muhammed said that Lima-area Muslims see the opening of the mosque as a "joyous occasion.” Prior to the opening of the mosque, worship services were being held in temporary sites.

"We have outgrown those places and it makes it easier for us to come to one place,” Muhammed said.

Shaheen pointed out a verse in the Quran in explaining the faith.

"Oh mankind we created you from a male and a female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another, indeed the most noble among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you,” Shaheen said. "We believe that all humans are created equal. This is what it is all about.”

Najam Saleem said Islam is a peaceful religion, and that mosque members felt it was important to communicate that to the people in the Lima area.

"We believe that your acts speak louder than anything,” Saleem said. "We want everyone to come in and see what we are. They can see and hear what we are doing. They hear of things like Daesh (ISIL), and that is not Islam. We believe if you kill one person, you have killed all humanity. The core of Islam is it is a religion of peace, and you are to make friends with everyone, your neighbors and your enemies.”

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