Muslim group wants mentoring center

Published February 18, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - The Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association wants to establish a mentoring center in Childs Park and is sponsoring a luncheon Thursday to begin its campaign.

"We want to really introduce the idea to the St. Pete community," said Abdul Karim Ali, the association's board chair.

The lunch will be 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S. It is free and open to the public. School Board chairwoman Mary Brown is keynote speaker.

Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also is scheduled to appear, as is Deputy Mayor Tish Elston.

Reconstruction of family life is the luncheon's theme, Ali said.

The association wants to get the center off the ground as soon as possible, he said, but a site has yet to be determined. "It's not only to deal primarily with young folks, but also looking at a complex dealing with the whole family," Ali said.

Envisioned are a computer lab, conference rooms, after-school and summer programs, a library and a multipurpose room for senior citizens.