The All-Dulles Area Muslim Society celebrated a major milestone Friday when construction kicked off for the next expansion of its worship center in Sterling.
As part of the groundbreaking activities, the mosque leaders featured a special Black History Month program, with Ibrahim Rasool, the former South African ambassador to the United States, delivering the sermon during Friday prayers.
He highlighted the sacrifices made by Africans who were brought to the United States in chains and those who have worked to fight for justice in American and in South Africa. The program included a funeral prayer for enslaved Africans who were Muslim, especially those who were denied the prayers required by their faith at the time of their passing.
Rasool was among several speakers who encouraged worshipers to vote in Tuesday’s primary election, especially in light of increasing rhetoric from some candidates seeking to restrict the rights of Muslims.
“We understand that we need to change the wrong and the evil with our hands,” Rassol said. “Change is possible in American because you have the vote.”
Muslims in Northern Virginia have a special opportunity to have an impact on the public discourse because “you sit at the ear of the superpower,” he said.
Also joining in the groundbreaking were Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) and Loudoun NAACP President Phillip Thompson, along with representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
Randall reflected on her calling for public service that resulted in her election to the Loudoun board. “It’s because of the people who came before me and laid down this path,” she said, adding it was important for her and others in the room to continue to improve conditions for future generations. “One day they will walk on the path that we laid down for them.”
It was members of the next generation who will benefit from the ADAMS center expansion. The mosque’s youth leaders had a big hand in designing the addition, which will feature activity areas for young members to engage in activities such as journalism, debate and cooking.
The new addition will double the size of the 15-year-old center on Sugarland Road to more than 51,000 square feet.
ADAMS is the second largest Muslim community in the United States, conducting 24 Friday prayers at 11 locations around the region in addition to offering a host of education and social activities.