Winona church responds after Islamic Center fire

When a fire destroyed the Winona Islamic Center this week, officials at the nearby Central Lutheran Church told the Muslim worshippers, “Know that we’re here for you.”

A Winona Daily News report says members of the Islamic Center were grateful for the gesture.

Center founder Ahmed El-Afandi says the Winona community has revealed its generosity by opening its arms and doors to his members.

The Islamic Center was one of three buildings destroyed by a fire Friday. No one was hurt.

Fire officials say the cause hasn’t been determined. There were no immediate signs of arson.

El-Afandi says the fire is a test of faith and a chance to make a new beginning. He says he hopes the tragedy helps strengthen bonds between local Christians, Jews and Muslims.