I have attended Dar Al Noor’s annual block party for the past three years. Dar Al Noor is on Hoadly Road in Prince William County, the most diverse county in Virginia. The folks at Dar Al Noor want to highlight that diversity as our greatest strength and offer a venue where we may all enjoy the day and get to know one another.
The block party is just one of the many events Dar Al Noor hosts for non-partisan community groups. InsideNoVa and other local groups have partnered with Dar Al Noor many times to host candidate forums, panels, and events devoted to issues such as how to help the unsheltered homeless community.
While most people think of Dar Al Noor as a mosque, it is actually a community center. It is getting ready to expand. With that expansion comes even greater resources for county residents.
I recently stopped by Dar Al Noor to chat with my old friend Rafi Ahmed, the president of the Muslim Association of America. He is my “go to” guy if I need space for an event or help with a community issue.
Ahmed said, “This expansion will clearly allow us to continue to make our facility available for community events. Our persistent goal of bridging the gap between county residents of all faiths, ethnicities, or backgrounds will be greatly improved with the expansion.”
Dar Al Noor offers its facilities for community use at no charge to the public.
Ahmed also shared that the expansion will include an auditorium and a community health clinic that will be open to the public, as well as an Islamic school. Those who attended the center’s open house about the expansion or attended the block party and took the opportunity to look at the model on display have a pretty good idea of what it will look like.
The National Center for Education Statistics lists 25 private schools in Prince William. Most are Christian schools. Dar Al Noor will be adding to the county’s rich history of diversity with the construction of an Islamic school.
“We are extremely excited to be opening our first full-time Islamic school in the community,” Ahmed said. “Muslim Association of Virginia will continue to teach the knowledge of Islam to our future generations. We will continue to strive to produce good Muslim Americans, great and responsible citizens for our commonwealth and for the county of Prince William.”
There are legitimate issues regarding any new school. Traffic is on everyone’s mind. Like other religious institutions, the center pays the Prince William Police Department for personnel and equipment to do traffic management. As those who have driven past Dar Al Noor on a Friday before or after services or attended the block party know, the police department does an outstanding job managing Hoadly Road during events. The police will also be hired as needed to assist during school hours. I wish Colgan High School, also my neighbor, and other public schools on busy thoroughfares would do the same.
If you want to learn more about Dar Al Noor, reserve space for an event, or have questions about the expansion email Rafi Ahmed at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to talk to you about their plans.
Maybe I’ll see you at next year’s block party. Did I mention that they give away hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, and other treats for free?
Al Alborn is a political and social activist in Prince William County. His column appears every other week. You can learn more about Al at www.alborn.net.