The Islamic Center of America traces its history to the 1950s, when a dedicated group of young Lebanese Americans worked with Imam Mohammad Jawad Chirri to establish Michigan’s first, purpose-built Shi`a mosque. The congregation’s original house of worship was dedicated on Joy Road in Detroit in 1963. The Islamic Center has thrived over the years and is now perhaps the largest mosque in North America. Its growth and dynamism are reflected in the congregation’s new building, which opened in 2005 on Ford Road in Dearborn. The Center has also sponsored a popular K-6 school, the Muslim American Youth Academy, located next to its Ford Road facility, since 1997.
The Islamic Center’s new mosque, at 120,000 sq. ft., is grand in comparison to its earlier facility (17,000 sq.ft.), yet both structures are distinctive for the large spaces they set aside for religious and social events. The new mosque includes a vast meeting hall that can be divided into several smaller rooms, an industrial kitchen, a spacious prayer room with a high, calligraphy-decorated dome, a generously proportioned mezzanine for women, offices, meeting rooms, a library, and archival space set aside to document the community’s history in America. Led by Imam Hassan Qazwini, the Islamic Center offers a wide range of religious, educational, and public programs. It is frequently host to interfaith tour groups and visiting dignitaries from around the world. With a congregation of over 3,000 members, the center has long been one of Detroit’s most vibrant and influential Muslim institutions. A calendar of events, lectures by Imam Qazwini, prayer times, programs, and photographs of the new mosque are available at www.icofa.com.