2 min read
Posted on 02.20.08
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 02.20.08

Writers in some local and national blogs have begun spewing invective about the local Bosnian community’s new minaret in south city. According to the newspaper, the St. Louis office of the FBI has been asked to investigate the threats.

Here’s what I wrote about the minaret back in June:

The City of St. Louis already has a world-class collection of water towers and bell towers. Soon, however, we will also have the first minaret in the history of our City, thanks to Imam Muhamed Hasic and his congregation. The Imam, who is president of the St. Louis Islamic Community Center, located at 4666 Lansdowne, has applied for a zoning permit for a minaret.

So, what is a "minaret"? Barb Geisman, my office’s expert on such things, says that a minaret is a tall slender tower attached to a mosque, with one or more projecting balconies from which a muezzin summons the people to prayer, and can be freestanding or actually attached to the mosque. The City’s new minaret will be freestanding — kind of like a church steeple without the attached church.

This particular minaret’s balcony feature will be more decorative than functional. The Imam told the Post-Dispatch’s Tim O’Neil that the real value of the minaret on Lansdowne will be its symbolic power. "Everyone will know that we are a mosque," said Hasic. The zoning permit application advances the organization’s dream and will add yet another interesting, attractive, and highly visible feature to the south St. Louis skyline.

The City minaret is being designed by Anthony Duncan, a St. Louis architect with offices on Virginia Avenue, and will be constructed by an artisan who specializes in minarets. The Center would like to begin construction in August, when the craftsman is available to do the work. When completed, the minaret will be 108 feet tall.

I am absolutely delighted to welcome this new symbol of our Bosnian neighbors.