color me a bit skeptical

On one hand, wo0t!  I would be the first in line to sign up and become a life time member.

A plan to create what could become the first recreation center in the country designed to comply with Muslim religious beliefs is gaining steam in the Twin Cities.

The proposal for a $48 million Muslim Youth and Recreation Center comes from Somali Youth Action of Minnesota, a new nonprofit organization working to reduce youth violence.

Early sketches of the project reveal separate swimming pools for men and women, separate exercise rooms, an indoor soccer field and a large multi-purpose room for weddings and other events.

But on the other hand, $48 million??   Granted, with our supposed community of 150,000 (where did that number come from?  It seems a bit high.  Yeah, I see a dozen or 2 hijabis every day, but where the heck are the other 149,988 hiding?), we should be able to through in $100 each and wa’la right?  Ah, yeah, we can’t even keep our current masjids funded properly.  My jummah masjid has been running 20% short in donations to operating expenses since the economy went poorly.  The local somali dominated store front masjid we attend every once in awhile is always always always raising money, with the city constantly threatening to shut them down for code violations.  AbuS has been to a number of the cities’ masjids for jummah in the last year, and reports that they usually include a plea for money at some point during the service.

The proposed center would serve an estimated 150,000 Muslims living in the Twin Cities area. It would house a walk-in clinic, a teen center where young people could work, study and socialize, an art gallery to display Islamic art and projects created by teens. There also would be a coffeehouse and space for counseling and legal services.

Raising enough money to turn the dream into reality will be challenging, SYA leaders acknowledge, especially given the stagnant economy and poor fundraising climate.

“It’s going to have to be a very broad, united effort for fundraising this,” Palombo said. “It’s going to have to come from a lot of places, definitely from the local Muslim communities first, through private donations and fundraising events, and local philanthropists. We’re also hoping to do some corporate sponsorships, whether it’s a room or a program.”

The group also anticipates having to seek donations from individuals and businesses outside Minnesota, and maybe even outside the country. Palombo estimates it will take at least three to five years to raise the money and two years after that for construction.

Still, at least they realize that it will be an uphill battle.  May Allah (swt) reward them for their endeavor and grant them success, ameen.


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