For students living on Beige Block, the potential move of the liquor store closer to the area may be a godsend.
But to Ahmed Rushdie, the news is nothing less than "insulting."
Officials familiar with the negotiations say that there are talks to move the 41st and Market streets liquor store to 43rd and Walnut streets, a location close in proximity to a K-8 school and a community mosque.
The Masjid Al-Jamia Mosque is located at 4228 Walnut St., while the Penn-Alexander school is at 4209 Spruce St.
Rushdie, a professor in Penn's Near Eastern Language and Civilizations Department and a board member of Masjid Al-Jamia, says the move raises serious issues for Muslims in the area - under Islamic law, it is illegal for Muslims to consume alcohol.
Rushdie's concerns go further than religious convictions, however: He said Masjid Al-Jamia is most concerned about the possible negative side effects that a liquor store might have for the area.
"Most importantly, it's really bad for the neighborhood because there are many families, and [it would be] less than 300 feet from the school on 42nd" Street, he said. "We're not disputing the relocation of this store because it's a religious matter only."
Although the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has denied that there are present plans to move the store, Spruce Hill Community Association officials and the building's developer have both confirmed that a zoning-board meeting - in which community members will be allowed to voice their concerns - will be held Feb. 28 to discuss the move.
"I'm sure the mosque will be there, make their case [and] be heard," said Barry Grossbach, chairman of the Spruce Hill Zoning Committee. All parties "have the right to speak, and then the zoning committee decides."
If the PLCB were to move locations, they would need to obtain a permit approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
And the Muslim community hopes that, at the meeting, its voice will be heard.
"If this is the motivation of the establishment or to further fuel the pockets of the government through liquor tax, I'm unsure," said area resident Asalamu Alaikum, a member of Masjid Al-Jamia. "However, we all agree that we don't want to see our community fall victim to these types of establishments, as others have done all too often."
College junior Artina Sheikh, vice president of the Penn Muslim Student Association, also spoke out against the possible relocation.
"The MSA is extremely concerned over this issue and objects to this establishment because of the moral implications of permitting wider distribution of alcohol to society at large," she said.
But Grossbach said he hopes that an amiable conclusion can eventually be reached.
"Everyone is looking to find some solution … that is acceptable across the board," he said.