Surrounded by elected and religious leaders, the Muslim community in Snohomish County, Washington celebrated their first mosque on Saturday.
The mosque groundbreaking in Mukilteo followed seven years of campaigning and hard work to make the dream become a reality.
“It’s a dream come true. We couldn’t sleep all night with the excitement,” Riaz Khan, a mosque supporter, told Kings5.com.
Though the mosque faced opposition at the beginning, Saturday’s event marked a new start after getting support from elected and religious leaders from around the county. The mosque would take two years to complete.
“We’re supposed to have freedom of religion, but we’re constantly met with adversity so we have to keep pushing forward,” one supporter told the crowd Saturday.
“Freedom to practice religion is important. I think what we have realized is we have to make sure we’re defending that freedom,” Congressman Rick Larsen, D-Washington, said.
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Attending the ceremony with his wife Ayesha, Khan sees the mosque as an investment in the next generation.
“This is for the people, the children. They’re going to learn here, they’re going to live here, they’re born here and they’re going to use this facility,” he said.
“It’s for them, for the young people.”
Islam is the third largest religion in the United States, after Christianity and Judaism.
A 2017 Pew Research study estimated that 3.45 million Muslims live in the US, about 1.1 percent of the population.