Mosque Under Construction In Lexington, KY Is Raising The Local Profile Of Islam

On Friday afternoon, worshipers pack Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah on Russell Cave Road. Just outside, the mosque’s future site is being built — a $1.5 million, 8,000-square-foot structure, complete with dome, that will hold about 500 people. It will be the first purpose-built mosque in Lexington. Money is being raised locally, including an initial $800,000 in pledges. The mosque should be finished by May, according to Ihsan Bagby, a member of the Masjid Bilal board of trustees. Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque. Bilal Ibn Rabah was the name of an Ethiopian slave freed by the Prophet Muhammad and chosen by him to recite the call to prayer. From its beginnings on Georgetown Street in 1978 — in a building it retains as its Share Center, which provides outreach and coordinates activities including serving food to the homeless — the congregation moved to a 2.4-acre spot at 1545 Russell Cave Road in 2004.

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