After six years as president of the Lodi Muslim Mosque, Mohammad Shoaib has turned over the reigns to Khan Afsar, a newcomer to the mosque board. Afsar took over as president on Aug. 1.
Afsar takes over the mosque leadership after being on its board a little more than a year. So how did he become president so soon?
"The board asked me to become president," he replied, giving no reason why he accepted the position.
Born in Pakistan, Afsar moved to the United States with his father in 1978. He became an American citizen in 1984.
Afsar attended school in Pakistan, but didn't attend college. Afsar was a farmworker picking pears, apricots, peaches and grapes. He also worked at Pacific Coast Producers in Lodi and at a glass plant in Tracy. He is not employed at this time.
Afsar lives in Lodi with his wife, three daughters and a son. One daughter attends Heritage Elementary School, and the other three children are Tokay High School students.
Afsar talked to News-Sentinel staff writer Ross Farrow about his life and plans for the mosque.
Q: What are your goals as Lodi Muslim Mosque president?
A: Unity and peace, work with everybody - all religions and the community. Listen.
Q: A few years ago, there was lack of unity within the mosque with individuals fighting for power. Has that a problem anymore?
A: It has been solved - all solved. (He credited Shoaib's leadership as former mosque president for forging peace.)
Q: Who was the biggest influence in your life?
A: God - He can change your life just like that (snapping his fingers).
Q: How do you feel about the United States' potential military involvement in Pakistan?
A: That's up to the Pakistani government and American government. I hope both governments do something good for humanity. And I expect something good.
Q: It has been a Pakistani custom for teenage girls to not go to school with boys. How do you feel about it?
A: I have two daughters at Tokay High School, one in ninth grade, one in 10th grade. I have no problem with that. Girls cannot swim together with boys.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: "Home Alone." It's a funny movie.