Wheatfield Islamic center will not be turned into a Mosque

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — The new owner of Suzanne’s Fine Dining in the Town of Wheatfield said there’s nothing to fear. The former restaurant will not be turned into a Mosque.

Dr. Mohammad Agwa said after purchasing the building for $666,000, his first thought was turning the building into an Islamic cultural center, a place for safe learning. But Agwa was met with hate calls. So he hosted an open meeting for the public to voice concerns.

“We all have fears from the other especially if this other is unknown, and for them, we’re the unknown,” Rupie Ghazal of the Islamic Center of Niagara said. “They don’t know much about us and this is why we wanted to have this open house. We wanted to introduce who we are.”

Agwa said he wants to host classes — which will be open to anyone — which teach Arabic and tolerance. He brings his experience as a professor at Niagara University. He defended the decision to buy the building.

“All of us do the same duties and all of us have the same rights,” he said. “We pay taxes and we go to school, and all of us are working for the welfare and dignity of the State.”

But underlying nervousness plagued the crowd. Nobody addressed fears of violence directly, but they were eluded to.

“But if they’re good people I extend my hand to them,” Reverend Bob Heisner said. “If they’ve got a good work ethic and they care about them and they discipline their children, wake up America, that’s what we used to do.”

Agwa said anybody with concerns or desires to shape the direction of the facility is welcome to join the 18-member board.

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