Minnetonka is getting its first Islamic community center.
The west metro suburb, which has more than 20 houses of worship for various faiths, soon will have an Islamic worship space and community center following the City Council’s unanimous approval this week.
The Al-Amaan Center, to be located off Smetana Drive in an industrial park near Hwy. 169, also will include a coffee shop, offices, day care facility, classrooms and a banquet space, establishing a permanent home for those of Islamic faith in Minnetonka starting this fall.
“We got the best treatment,” said Nemat Janetkhan of the center. “We’re extremely happy. We just wanted a place we could call home.”
For the past year, worshipers have been leasing space at an office building in Eden Prairie, among other temporary locations.
The Al-Amaan Center will fill a need in Minnetonka, Janetkhan said, and will be a central location for residents in Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Hopkins.
Neighboring Eden Prairie has several mosques and is home to an estimated 3,500 to 5,000 Somali residents, the third largest Somali- American population in the Twin Cities, just behind Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to officials.
After the Minnetonka City Council granted it a conditional use permit Monday, the center turned its focus to raising $1 million by September to help fund closing costs for its new home, a three-level building with more than 30,000 square feet.
A Planning Commission meeting in July drew some residents raising concerns about noise and traffic; a couple of residents were concerned about security and safety issues.
But Monday night’s council meeting was quiet and there were no public comments on the plans during the council’s 15-minute discussion.
City leaders had reminded people before the vote that any residents who wanted to share their comments had to stick to questions or concerns about land use.
“If someone comes up and starts disparaging someone’s religion, race, their country of origin, ethnic background, color of skin or has questions about financing or terrorism, I’m going to rule that out of order,” Mayor Terry Schneider said at the meeting.
After the council voted its approval, Schneider said: “Welcome to our community.”