A Catholic church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was sold last week to a Muslim cultural society. The Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Catholic Church in Bristol Township, located 25 miles outside of Philadelphia, was purchased by the United American Muslim Society, based in Brooklyn, New York, for $1.775 million last Friday.
The church had been closed since the start of 2016 and the money raised from the sale will go toward paying down debts of close to $1 million, reports local news outlet LevittownNow.com. The site, which was used to host baptisms, weddings and funerals, merged with the local Queen of the Universe Parish in 2014.
While the U.S, presidential election has been marked by anti-Islamic rhetoric and a fierce debate over Muslim immigration, there was no sign this transaction had caused any tension in the local community. In fact, the sale was “positively received by parishioners,” according to spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Ken Gavin.
“The new owners of the former Immaculate Conception campus are community neighbors that have been present on the Levittown Parkway since 1991,” Gavin told LevittownNow. “They are widely known as people of faith, family, prayer and education in the moral life for their children and the families of Bristol Township.”
The United American Muslim Association is the parent organization of the Turkish American Muslim Cultural Association, a long-time resident in the area. Formed in 1980, the United American Muslim Association states its objectives as “to satisfy the religious and spiritual needs of the Muslim population in the United States.
“To teach Islam and to spread and keep alive the Islamic Culture; to provide Muslim children and youth with religious education; to give Muslim adults religious information and advice; to respond to questions pertaining to religion; to support the Muslim community financially and spiritually.”
It adds that: “For the realization of the objectives, to purchase, build or rent temples such as mosques masjids and buildings.”