The Mosque in DeBary

   The DeBary City Council recently granted an application for the opening of a Mosque in the City of DeBary.  Since many Americans have questions about Islam, contacted Riaz Qureshi. 

   Riaz Qureshi goes by the nickname of Ray.  He was the driving force behind the establishment of the new Mosque in DeBary.  Mr. Qureshi was born in Karachi, Pakistan.  He came to the U.S. in 1973 to expand his education and attended Southeastern State College in Oklahoma. 

After completing his education and technical training, Mr. Qureshi returned to Pakistan.  He met and married his wife in Pakistan and then they returned to the U.S. Both Ray and his wife are naturalized American citizens.  Mr. Qureshi had two children by his wife and now he has four grandchildren.  All are U.S. citizens.

   Mr. Qureshi gave me a copy of the Qur’an, which is the foundation of Islam.  The original Qur’an was written in Arabic, but my copy was translated into English.  The Qur’an has been translated into many languages and Ray emphasized that great care was taken to create exact translations of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. 

   As an American born into a Protestant Christian faith, I am aware that violence can occur in the same religion.  While growing up, I frequently heard news reports about my Irish Catholic relatives and my Irish Protestant relatives killing each other.  With this in mind, my first question to Ray was about the division in Islam between the Sunni and the Shite.  Ray explained that upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad there was no designated successor to lead the religious faith.  One group wanted to follow Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet and another group wanted to follow Abu Bakr who was a friend of Muhammad.  Ray stated that all individuals of the Islamic faith are welcome in the DeBary Mosque, The Mosque of Mary, and that the Mosque would not be designated as either a Sunni or Shite Mosque. 

   Ray stated that the Mosque was to be known as the Mosque of Mary because the Islamic faith incorporates both the teachings of the Jewish and Christian faiths. 

   When the Mosque of Mary is complete, the main service will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.  Men and women sit in different regions inside the Mosque.  Also, worshipers sit or neal on the floor.  However, chairs will be provided for those who request them or have specific health conditions.  Ray emphasized that all individuals are welcome to visit the Mosque.  The phone number for the Mosque is 386-753-0200.     ( Editor’s note.  In English there are many different spellings of Muhammad.  Also, Qur’an is often found in English as Koran. )

                                  R. Van Conoley

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