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People of Ronkonkoma: Ahmed Essam Ibrahim

Ahmed Essam Ibrahim, 64, of St. James is

Ahmed Essam Ibrahim, 64, of St. James is the imam at the Suffolk Islamic Center in Ronkonkoma. (Dec. 9, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

Ahmed Essam Ibrahim, 64, St. James
Occupation: Owner of Sam Auto Repair
Community involvement: Suffolk Islamic Center

How long have you owned the shop here? Over 20 years

So how well do you know the community? Very well. Working with the people for 20 years is enough to know them. With the general population, I know a lot of them, and in the Muslim community, I am the one that they look at.

Why is that? I am imam at the mosque on Ronkonkoma Avenue, Suffolk Islamic Center.

How long have you been Imam there? Since Day 1. Five years ago we opened that mosque. Before that I was imam at Selden Mosque. That is a major mosque -- it was the first on Long Island, now we have over 20. I was also imam in Shirley and Melville

How involved were you in opening the mosque here? Very involved. In every aspect -- financially, morally, everything.

What is the community like here? Decent people. Like every society everywhere, you find people that are good and people that are bad. But mostly here they are good.

Specifically, what is the Muslim community like here? What I see here is that they need to know more about their religion. Here we have everybody coming from a different region, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Turkish. I learned the religion from the roots so I can teach people the right way. We teach how to act, what is the Quran, what the prophets say about how to act. We all came together, everyone chipped in, when we wanted to build the mosque.

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