Eleven years after starting in a rental space, the Muslim Association of Puget Sound continues to grow, and now they’re the second largest Muslim Association on the west coast.

“Our Center here serves over 5,000 families coming from 40 different countries,” founding member and current President Mahmood Khadeer said. “And we are growing, growing at the rate of 15 percent every year, and I think if you come on a Friday you will see over 700 to 800 people praying in this hall.”

As the current President, Khadeer has been working actively to not only grow membership but also to make a positive difference in the community.

“Religiously, we are obliged to take care of the community that we live in,” Khadeer said. “At the same time, we are living here, so the community is what is watching our children grow, our community kids benefit from everything around us, and as a good human being it is our responsibility to give back to the community.”

The Association operates under four pillars: religion, outbound good, inbound good, and model citizenry.

“The programs that we do are not just religious,” Khadeer said. “I told you that religion is one-fourth of our pillars, the other three are how do you build good citizens; how do we communicate and create those leadership qualities, those values, and create an impact in the community that we live in.”

Khadeer said their sign had been vandalized a few times in recent months, but what he remembers most is the outpouring of support from the people in and around Seattle.

“The amount of support that we got was overwhelming. I was getting every minute about two, three emails of support. People want to financially support, people want to come here and stand up,” Khadeer said. “And that is all the goodness of the human being that is coming out. And so we are very very lucky, and we are very humbled by the amount of support that we get from the community.”

He invites anyone to go to their mosque in Redmond so they can learn more about Muslim people and Islam. That invitation is open to everybody, he says, even though some may not see eye to eye.

“When they come here, I think that many of them come to the mosque for the first time, and when they look at it, and they talk to us, they really feel energized,” Khadeer added. “They talk to us about Islam, and what are the basic tenants of our religion, and it is surprising that there is more commonality than differences.”

Find more information about the Muslim Association of Puget Sound here.