Friday, October 26, 2001

Fire doesn't derail plan for school for Muslim kids




By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — Mahmoud Shalash stared at the charred remains of a building Thursday and started dreaming again of opening a school for Muslim children.

[photo] Firefighters battle the blaze Wednesday night at the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky in Lexington, after lightning struck the building.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        Lightning sparked the fire that gutted the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky late Wednesday, fire officials said. The religious and social center was being converted into an elementary school that was expected to open early next year.

        But Thursday, only the brick shell of the L-shaped building stood. Most of the roof was destroyed, and yellow police tape was draped around the structure several miles south of downtown Lexington. Charred insulation flapped in the brisk wind.

        “The most important thing is there was not any loss of life,” said Mr. Shalash, the imam, or spiritual leader, of the Islamic Center of Lexington, which owns the building.

        “It is a disruption, but it is not going to stop or deter us,” he said.

        The Islamic Center bought the building in 1995. It was insured, Mr. Shalash said.

        For 15 years, Mr. Shalash and fellow Muslims had dreamed of opening the school. They pinned those hopes on the building that was engulfed in heavy smoke and flames Wednesday night.

        Nothing inside the building was salvageable, as desks and other school materials were lost. But Mr. Shalash envisioned construction of an even bigger school in its place.

        “We will start fresh and make more rooms to accommodate more students,” he said.

       



Police improvements could cost millions
Now it's time to act, critics advise police
First 2012 Olympic cuts today
Conflicting details arise in testimony
Punching of suspect angered officer
Fuller responds to his critics
Independent draws some notice
Ladybeetles descend on area
Luken has vastly more than Fuller
Military small part of war, general says
Q&A: 'You knew this was no accident'
Schloemer leads board candidates in contributions
Sidewalks for shoppers
Small airports batten down
Tristate A.M. Report
HOWARD: Some Good News
RADEL: Police report
WELLS: Images of infamy
Fairfield candidates rank roads, property values high
Lovers of log house take appeal to county
Natural gas line planned
Storm water a concern
Two projects dropped from sales tax funding
Petition puts annexation law on hold
Safety on tap this Halloween
State will reimburse poor families
- Fire doesn't derail plan for school for Muslim kids
Kenton could guide locale of sex zone
Peaselburg suspects jail ploy
UK students accused of counterfeiting