by Kirsten Kraus | feature editor
This past year, surrounding neighborhoods welcomed the first Muslim worship center in the North Side area, located near the corner of Evans and Bulverde.
While the new facility is among the first worship centers in San Antonio built primarily for Muslims, the center’s new location seems to make it easier for students and other locals to attend prayer services.
“The new building is the same one that we had before, but it just relocated. It used to be a good 30 minutes away, but this one is only about five minutes from my house. It’s a lot more convenient that I don’t have to drive so far every time I need to go anymore. I get to go a lot more now too,” junior Ayesha Meghani said.
In addition to the convenience the new location provides, the Jamatkhana, a local mosque for Muslims, brings with it some social opportunities as well.
‘There are quite a few kids that go to Jamatkhana that also attend Johnson. I get to see them when we do our Saturday school, which is like the usual version of Sunday school,” junior Mahek Lalani said. “I also get to see my friends who I don’t see a lot because we don’t go to school together. Whenever I go, whether it’s services or school, I get to see my friends – which is another reason I love to go.”
However, while the church is open to the public, the prayer hall is limiting its accessibility to primarily Ismailis.
“Anyone can come in to a certain point, but not in the actual prayer hall. People can come into the lobby and other open places, but they try to keep the prayer hall closed to Muslims only,” Meghani said. “They have services every day, but Friday is the day everyone comes, and when they have extra prayers. The sermons are usually translated to English, Hindi, and Gujarati so everyone can understand it.”
In addition to attracting new members, the worship center has brought a wave of cultural awareness to the halls of Johnson as curiosity about the Muslim religion arises.
“I didn’t exactly know what it was when it first got put up. Honesty, I thought it was a library until someone told me differently. It does cause some traffic over there, but it’s good that Islamic people have a place to worship that is so close to home,” senior Breann Largent said.