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South Carolina mosque hopes for warmer reception

ROCK HILL — As debate rages over an Islamic cultural center and mosque planned in lower Manhattan, local Muslims are readying a new home near downtown Rock Hill.

Group members say they are mindful of the potential for suspicion — at a time of heightened sensitivity toward Islam.

But as they observed Ramadan prayer services Friday in a temporary space, worshippers also expressed hope that the mosque on West Main Street can become a place of understanding.

"Once we get up and running, it's going to be the real test," said James "Jumah" Moore, the group's director and a Rock Hill native. "We will see what the larger reaction is."

For the past three years, Muslims from around York County have held prayer services in borrowed spaces — first a house, then a church activity room and finally a strip mall storefront on Cherry Road.

Now, a vacant lot outside downtown will become the site of Rock Hill's first mosque.

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