…..and the Lutherans are helping make it happen!
Maybe you’ve seen this news, it all happened earlier this summer.
Just last Friday, we gave you an update from Syracuse where another Catholic Church became a mosque and it makes me wonder—in how many cities is this happening?
From the Twin Cities Daily Planet:
On Saturday, July 12, I sat down to talk with Feisal Elmi, a representative of the Darul Uloom Islamic Center, the new owner of the buildings on East 5th Street previously occupied by St. John’s Catholic Church and school.
As a former Catholic, I didn’t know much about Islam, so Feisal began with the basics.
After the basics of Islam are discussed:
The center’s goal is to be a catalyst for the growth of small business in the community, and its leaders see East 7th Street as a prime location for Somali stores and restaurants, akin to the Karmel Mall in South Minneapolis.
Somali refugees are still arriving from that war-torn country. Feisal told me that the first wave of Somali immigrants to Minnesota were refugees, but tended to be from the wealthier strata of Somali society, while the most recent ones are in more desperate circumstances. A couple of generations ago, many of them were Ethiopians who fled to Somalia; now, they are seeking to escape the strife in Somalia. The former rectory at St. John’s is housing some of these new arrivals, and the center will provide assistance in finding them permanent housing***. As with many mass inflows of refugees, they are sponsored by religious agencies (in this case, Lutheran Social Services), and must qualify for refugee status under federal law.
An Islamic center is something new in our neighborhood, but it wasn’t all that long ago that the St. John’s campus was the religious home of newly-arrived Irish immigrants, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church that of the German Catholics. If there’s one constant about the East Side, it’s that it’s always changing.
***It sounds like this Somali Center has become a refugee subcontractor, if the reporter has this right.
Be sure to see this good blog post from a Catholic priest.
How did we get so many Somalis in Minnesota?—thank Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and World Relief Minnesota (Evangelicals). Read all about it at one of our most read posts (from 2011).