On July 29th there will be an inauguration of the new Masjid at 257 South Orange Avenue. This new building will be adjacent to the old Masjid, where people used to worship regularly for decades. The new building will accommodate a worship center (prayer room) and a school for grades K-12. Imam Akbar Muhammad did not lose hope to build a Masjid, and after a long struggle he has succeeded. “The old building of the Masjid will have a shopping center with basement floor for parking and two floors of shopping and the top floor for the banquet hall,” said Imam.
The Imam is organizing an event for the fundraising program “Manifestation of Allah’s Will” at Robert Treat Hotel in Newark on July 29th, 2011. They will honor a community leader and Muslim legend, Carolyn Kelly-Shabazz. The guest speaker will be the first African American mayor of the city of Newark, Kenneth A. Gibson. I took an interview with both leaders.
Dhiren Shah: Welcome to this interview Mayor Gibson. Why do you think that the Masjid, a religious center, can help the local community?
Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson: This Masjid has done a lot for the community. It is well planned and well executed. This will bring a degree of stability to the entire city.
Carolyn Kelly-Shabazz: I think we can help the community. We teach love. We have followed the leadership of Imam Akbar Muhammad, and we have seen the difference. He is the only man in the community who has built a Masjid from the ground up. This was his mission and he accomplished it. When the Imam was a young boy, he was trying to follow the work of Mayor Gibson. and now he is going to complete the job that Mayor Gibson started.
DS: Mr. Gibson, how do you think that the city has progressed under Mayor James and Mayor Booker?
KG: I don’t evaluate other mayors. I can say that regarding education, they have not done much. They could have addressed more to education.
DS: What can the city do to improve public safety Mr. Gibson?
KG: Young people do not have enough activities when schools are closed. Education is the key to success.
DS: What do you think was your biggest accomplishment as mayor?
KG: Recreation is the biggest accomplishment. Neighborhood recreation centers, neighborhood