Albanian Islamic Center
Harper Woods, MI 48225
Date Center Founded 1962
Membership/Community Size 150 families
Ethnic Composition Ethnically diverse
Description: The Albanian Islamic Center, built in Harper Woods in 1963, boasts a
distinctive Balkan-style dome and minaret. With a prayer area, offices,
large social hall, classrooms, and kitchen, the mosque serves an old
Albanian American community (already well established in the 1940s) and
newly-arrived immigrants from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, and other Muslim
countries. The center provides weekend religious instruction in Arabic,
Albanian, and English along with other educational and service programs.
The Albanian Islamic Center is open to Muslims from all ethnic backgrounds,
but immigrants from Europe and their descendents form its core membership.
The mosque is unusual for its location in Detroit's eastern suburbs.
The Albanian Islamic Center's first imam, Vehbi Ismail, came to Detroit in
1949. Throughout the 1950s, his congregation met in a former Armenian
church located on Detroit's west side. Now in his 80s, Imam Ismail still
attends the Harper Woods mosque, which he helped establish in 1963, and he
occasionally leads prayers. The current imam, Shuajb Gerguri, has been
acting head of the mosque since 1996.