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Mosque to be built in Orem

By Caleb Warnock - Daily Herald - | Dec 10, 2012

OREM — The local Islamic community has begun the requirements to build a mosque in Orem.

Orem’s planning commission has approved a site plan for the mosque to be built near 1000 S. State St., said Jason Bench, Orem city planner.

The mosque will become home to the Utah Valley Islamic Center, which for the past three years has been housed in a rented space on the second floor of University Mall. The congregation has a dozen or so members, but is growing, UVIC president Samah Bassas said.

The group has purchased the property on State Street with donations, and before building the mosque, the plan is to build two storefronts. One will be rented out to a business, and the other will be the temporary home of UVIC. The congregation has raised a third of the donations needed to move forward with construction of the storefronts, and hopes to begin within the next six months, Bassas said.

The rented storefront “will generate some money for the center and hopefully we can save for phase two” which is to build an actual mosque on the property immediately behind the two storefronts. Once the mosque is complete, the second storefront will be leased to a business, and the income will benefit the mosque and UVIC.

“We don’t have any plan for when it will be started,” she said of the second phase.

To build the storefronts, local and regional Islamic members will be asked to contribute the second third of the cost, and the final third will be a loan, she said. UVIC board members will polish their financial plans in upcoming weeks.

Orem’s planning commission has approved the site plan for both the retail spaces and the mosque, Bench said. Once construction has begun on the retail stores, UVIC will have two years to pull a permit for the mosque, or reapply.

“As far as the city is concerned, there are no issues at all,” Bench said. “They are just trying to get the funds raised.”

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