Hamtramck, MI 48212
Congregation: Predominantly Bangladeshi
The Al-Islah Islamic Center was founded in 2000 by Bangladeshi immigrants, most of whom are followers of Allama Abdul Latif Chowdhury (Fultholi). The first Bangladeshi mosque in Hamtramck, Al-Islah was originally located in a small storefront on Joseph Campau and moved to its current home, a renovated medical clinic, in 2001. The group hopes to establish a traditional madrasa (religious school) in an adjacent building they purchased in 2004. Al-Islah Islamic Center gained national media attention in 2004, when the congregation sought to broadcast their idhan (call to prayer) from a loudspeaker outside the mosque. The idhan has been broadcast publicly in Detroit since the 1970s, and in Dearborn since the 1980s, but many Hamtramck residents opposed this practice in their city. Al-Islah’s leadership found itself embroiled in an election year battle with the City Council. The matter was resolved in a special city-wide referendum, which Al-Islah and their supporters won handily.
The Al-Islah Islamic Center is open daily for all prayers. The masjid occupies two floors of a building that was previously a medical clinic. It has a separate prayer space for women. The interior decoration is minimal, consisting mostly of a row of arches in the main prayer hall. Al-Islah currently sponsors a weekend Islamic school for children, where Arabic, Bangla, and Qur’an are taught. The congregation also runs a summer school. Adults meet weekly for tafsir (Qur’an study) on Sundays, and youth meetings are held once a month. Women attend the center most frequently for tafsir and special programming. While the mosque was founded by Bangladeshis, it is open to all Muslims. The administration has good relations with the local school board, with other mosques in the area, and with local churches and interfaith coalitions.