Richmond Muslim population grows, three mosques planned

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jun 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-06 19:05:15-04

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)--Plans are shaping up for a proposed mosque in Henrico’s west end.  

A tiny home now used by Muslim worshippers will one day be torn down and replaced by a 13,000 square foot building at the intersection of Shady Grove and Twin Hickory Roads.

The plans for the future West End Islamic Center are posted on the center’s website. Neighbors in nearby Twin Hickory say they’re interested to learn more about the plans.

Preliminary plans show the facility would accommodate 500 worshipers and provide nearly 200 parking spaces.

We spoke to Imam Ammar Amonette, the spiritual leader at the Islamic Center of Virginia for his perspective.  He says that proposed facility and two others, one under construction in Lakeside and another proposed mosque on Hungary Road will meet a great need.

"Currently there are between ten and twenty thousand Muslims in the Metro area. It’s really a growing population,” said Amonette.

He estimated roughly half of the people who worship at the Islamic Center of Virginia in Chesterfield commute. Many of them are from Henrico’s west end. Amonette says Henrico is of the fastest growing areas of the Muslim community that’s not served by a currently built mosque.

“So, they commute and use temporary facilities like houses, office spaces, store fronts. They go wherever they can go” said Amonette.

He acknowledges the concerns voiced by neighbors when the Lakeside area mosque was being planned. Now, he expects that building to be up in a year. Amonette says the others won’t happen overnight.