Local mosque expands

The center was funded completely by donations.

"Probably we got somewhere between $2.5 and $3 million in donations," he said.

Karima Rasoully, owner of Kabul Night, a restaurant on Union Street in Schenectady, and a member of the Islamic Center, said she is grateful for the new facility and its benefits.

"It is such a blessing we had it for Ramadan," she said.

She said the addition of the daycare has been a bonus for her family.

"Now we can bring the children along with us instead of leaving them home," she said. "We can drop the kids off where they're able to play with other kids, and we can have peaceful prayers."

Despite national debate over the Cordoba Mosque, which is slated to be built two blocks from where the World Trade Center buildings stood, and a Quran-burning threat posed by Florida Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones, Niazi said the center has received an outpouring of support from surrounding community members.

"I have complete faith in our neighbors, in our friends, that things like that will be completely rejected," he said. "We have gotten phone calls of support on this Florida issue."

He said the center also received a phone call from representatives from Skidmore condemning the issue.

"I'm telling my own people that we can look at our friends, if you are Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, this is the act of an extreme group that has, as reported, 30 or 40 followers," he said. "So he does not speak for the mass majority of people of other religions who are condemning this action and who are supporting Muslims and their right to exercise their right to practice their religion."

Niazi said politicians such as Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Rick Lazio used the mosque issue as a means to be noticed by the people of New York. He also referred to comments made by former Speaker of the United State House of Representatives Newt Gingrich railing against the proposed New York City mosque as "extreme" and "unfortunate."

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