“The minarets are our bayonets; the domes are our helmets. Mosques are our barracks, the believers are soldiers. This holy army guards my religion. Almighty, Our journey is our destiny, the end is martyrdom.” ~ Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan
Islamic Center of Fort Collins will host an open house Saturday to introduce a new building and reintroduce the area’s Muslim community.
The 18,000-square-foot Turkish-style mosque and Islamic Center, 925 W. Lake St., opened in late 2013 as a beacon of hope and visibility to the city’s roughly 2,000-strong Muslim community. Muslims have been in Fort Collins since 1952, according to the Center’s website. The first mosque was established in March 1980.
Saturday’s festivities begin at 10 a.m. and will allow people to tour the facility — which includes hand-woven carpet from the Middle East, gender-specific wudu rooms for washing hands, feet and face before prayers, and traditional mihrab to echo prayers and sermons throughout the building, — and participate in interfaith dialog and cultural exchange.
The Islamic Center’s previous building was just more than 2,500 square feet without many external identifying features at its Peterson Street location. The new building features a 70-foot minaret and 50-foot dome, both topped with crescent moons.
“To have such a building as this is just really unimaginable,” said Islamic Center member Elizabeth Siddique, 80. Siddique has been in Fort Collins since 1964 and said her family was one of the first Muslim families to stay in the area permanently.
“I think it’s going to be, for the most part, an introduction to who we are and what we stand for,” she said.