Saturday, September 4, 2010

Islamic Society of East Bay

Date visited: September 3, 2010

Location: Fremont, CA
33330 Peace Terrace
Fremont, 94555

Tag-team Taraweeh: Yes

Qirat: Depends on who it is. One of them had a voice that wouldn't stop quivering.

Size of congregation: Large, about 400

Capacity of center: There was a lot of spillover in the courtyard.

Parking: Plenty.

Mihrab: Yes

Minbar: Yes

Shoe shelves: Yes

Building: Two symmetrical structures. Kind of pretty to look at.

Friendliness towards women: Not bad

Friendliness of congregation: It was a busy night, but folks here are generally friendly.

This mosque's story always makes me crack up. When I was a young child, one day my dad bundled us all up in the car and we made the trek to Fremont for a mosque fundraiser. At this fundraiser, I learned that a Muslim group had bought a parcel of land right next to a church and planned to build a grand mosque on it. Parking wouldn't be a problem because the church already had a large lot and they could build one of their own.

Oh, and the model they'd built! It was gorgeous. It looked like a classic masjid, with a courtyard, sculpted pillars, a dome, a minaret and all in all a lot of space. These people seemed to know what they wanted and I was actually kind of excited about how the mosque would look when it was completed.

Fast forward a few years. I visited this place for the first time when I was in high school, and I noticed instead of a grand mosque, all they'd built was a relatively tiny building. Worse, they had left NO room for future expansion without destroying part of the building. This I knew they would never do because they'd built the outer wall with marble imported from India. Part of me of course wondered if they'd cut back a little on the Indian marble, could they have built a bigger space?

I do have a fond memory of that visit, though. I remember they had a sign near the bathroom pointing to their "voodoo" area.

Anyways, this place was not big enough for the crowd yesterday. And yes, I know that the mosque is never this crowded because it was a weekend night in Ramadan, but honestly, Muslims need to start building their mosques with Ramadan in mind. They should start to think like convention centers. Nobody ever books the big 4,500 person space at the Santa Clara Convention Center but they still have it because occasionally, someone will book it and that's when they'll make their money. Similarly, since mosque traffic is never as high as it is during Ramadan, the mosque boards need to build their mosques with that month in mind. More people equals more donations. Simple as that.

Basically, that's what upsets me about this space. They did have the space to build a grand mosque with the capabilities to outshine MCA but they blew it with short-sightedness. Now instead of one grand building they have two buildings which aren't even connected.

I did take my newt's eggs, cow femur and snake venom into the masjid with me yesterday, but I saw that they have stopped referring to their wudu area as a voodoo area. Sad day.

1 comment:

  1. they are planning to make a taj mahal-esque building much bigger than the other two buildings where the graveled parking lot is right now. So it'll be a 3 center complex. the fundraiser stuff is all over the mosque, you probably saw it.