The oldest mosque in Las Vegas is making progress in an almost decade-long effort to clean up a crime ridden neighborhood in Las Vegas.
A lot of the improvements have been focused in the immediate area around the place of worship near Washington Avenue and H Street, also know as historic West Las Vegas.
The idea was to purchase some of the surrounding property and rent it out to families in need. It’s, of course, an expensive idea that has slowly come to fruition over the years and continues to grow. In fact, the mosque is preparing to expand its efforts.
“It was a gang riddled and drug infested area,” said Fateen Seifullah, Imam, Masjid As-Sabur.
The Masjid As-Sabur, first opened in 1986, when historic West Las Vegas was no longer known for its off-the Strip live entertainment.
Seifullah says for years after opening, they tried cleaning up the area, even protesting in front of drug houses.
“One of the challenges we faced is that as long as we, other’s owned it, they could rent to whomever they wanted and it would take time to move them if they happen to be drug dealers or drug users or gang members,” Seifullah said.
That’s when “Muslim Village” was born.
“This four-plex, the white and green one, we own. It was the first one,” he said.
Despite its name, Seifullah says it’s not exclusive to Muslims. In fact, about a third of the residents are not members of the faith.
“So, we have seniors and college students and primarily women that live in this area,” Seifullah said.
Imam says because they haven’t been able to raise money fast enough to buy more property in the immediate area, they have good working relationships with the landlords.
“I live directly behind this in the green and white building,” said Ahmad Ade, Muslim Village resident.
Ade is one of the residents who says this is a comfortable place to live.
“Not necessarily the physical part of it, the property, but because of the neighborhood and relationships.”
The mosque has renovated a second four-plex in the area although they don’t own it yet. They not only have plans to buy the property but also the vacant lot next to it where they plan to build three townhomes.
“The reward is in knowing we provided some services,” Seifullah said.
The city of Las Vegas has designated the area around the mosque a “crime and drug” free zone.
The Imam tells 8 News Now they’ve also had positive conversations with gang leaders about staying away from the area.