POCATELLO, Idaho - By the end of June, Pocatello will have a completed mosque to add to the diversity of churches and other religious institutions in the city. But the crews still in the middle of construction. One of the biggest changes is to the roof. It's no longer flat but more like a house, and most of the inside walls have been removed.
"It's going to be a very open space," said general secretary of the Islamic Society, Daniel Hummel.
Hummel said the Islamic Society is very excited about the progress of the construction. They are asking folks to respect the fence surrounding the construction area because there are some dangers. But he said once the congregation are able to get into the building, everyone is welcome to come and visit.
"Ramadan is going to start at the end of June and we would like to be in that building at the beginning of Ramadan," said Hummel.
Hummel said once the members get settled into the building, they want it to be more than a place of worship.
"There's a lot of stuff happening in Pocatello that's not only being done by the interfaith community," he said. "We would really want to be part of just as much as we can."
He said the members want to help the community with service opportunities, like serving meals to the homeless. He said he's personally encountered groups trying to stop Islamic volunteers from handing out food. That's something he said stems from the Islamic Society's missionary ideals, but he said there's a time and a place for everything.
"So, if you hand somebody food, you don't put the Quran on top of it and say, 'This is for you'" Hummel said. "That's not the purpose of handing people food who are hungry."
Hummel said they will have an area for visitors to walk in, and they hope the whole building will also serve as a place for studying, presenting poetry and possible guest speakers.
Hummel also said they want to protect this project they've worked hard to get going, so they will be installing security around the building to keep any vandals away. Hummel said he hopes those who disagree with the Muslim beliefs will simply choose to stay away.