Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center
Description: The Karbalaa Islamic Education Center is located on Dearborn's Warren Avenue amidst Arab restaurants, shops and other mosques. The Center was established in 1995 in a rented building that used to be a former nightclub, built in the 1950s. Karbalaa is continually remodeled, with rooms changing functions from mosque to assembly hall. In its current state, the larger room is the main mosque with a smaller mosque attached for women and children. Occasionally the larger mosque is turned into secular space with tables and chairs to host members of the congregation, guests, local politicians and media for press conferences on Iraq. The floor of the mosque is decorated with colorful prayer rugs, and the wall with photos of Iraqi martyrs Mohammad Baqir as-Sadr and Baqir al-Hakim, murdered by Saddam Hussein.
Led by Sheikh Husham al-Husainy, who has lived 23 years in Michigan, Karbalaa is the center of Dearborn's Iraqi Shi'a community, with about 5000 members. There are approximately 15,000 Iraqi Shi'a refugees living in the greater Detroit area, who fled Iraq due to their opposition to Saddam Hussein, often via refugee camps in Saudi Arabia, many arrived in the United States 10 years ago. Karbalaa serves many social, spiritual,educational and athletic functions for the community. The education center hosts ESL classes and history courses for Iraqis, and lectures on the Middle East and Islam for the non-Muslim local community.
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