Islamic Center of America

The Islamic Center of America (Arabic: ٱلْمَرْكَز ٱلْإِسْلَامِيّ فِي أَمْرِيكَا‎, al-Markaz al-ʾIslāmīy Fī ʾAmrīkā) is a mosque located in Dearborn, Michigan, in the United States. The 120,000 sq. ft. facility is the largest mosque in North America and the oldest purpose-built Shia mosque in the United States,[1] as well as the second oldest mosque in the United States after 'Asser El Jadeed which originally opened in 1924 in Michigan City, Indiana.[2]

Islamic Center of America
LeadershipSheikh Ahmad Hammoud
Year consecratedSeptember 20, 1963
May 12, 2005 (current location)
LocationDearborn, Michigan
Islamic Center of America is located in the United States
Islamic Center of America
Location in the USA
Geographic coordinates42°19′48″N 83°13′47″W / 42.3301°N 83.2296°W / 42.3301; -83.2296
Architect(s)David Donnellon
TypeIslamic architecture
Construction cost$14 million
Dome height (outer)150-feet
Minaret height10 stories tall

The Islamic Center of America is located at 19500 Ford Road in Dearborn. The institution was founded in 1949.[3]


The center's original 1963 mosque in Detroit is pictured in the background in 2002.

The growing number of Muslims in the Detroit area in the mid-20th century sought out a religious leader from the Middle East to serve the community.[4] Imam Muhammad Chirri of Lebanon was invited to lead the newly-formed Islamic Center Foundation Society, which would later turn into the Islamic Center of Detroit, and later the Islamic Center of America.[4] The center first opened its doors at a location in Detroit on September 20, 1963 with financial support from the local community who pledged their homes as collateral along with a gift from Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The property for the construction of the Joy Road Mosque was purchased from the Ford Motor Company.[4] Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini led the center in 1997, several years after Imam Chirri's passing, and assumed the role of religious leader for 18 years.[5] The Islamic Center of America outgrew its original Detroit location and in 2005 moved to its present location on Ford Road in Dearborn. The Detroit mosque at the center's original site is now known as the Az-Zahra Center, where prayers services are still offered.[5]

2007 vandalism


The mosque was vandalized in January 2007 with anti-Shia graffiti. Many in the community believed that the vandalism was the result of recurrent sectarian tensions within the American Sunni Muslim community over the Iraq War and its Shia–Sunni conflict.[6]

2011 mosque bombing plot


On January 24, 2011, an Imperial Beach, California man named Roger Stockham was arrested and charged with terrorism after attempting to blow up the Islamic Center of America. Stockham was reported to be a convert to Sunni Islam who was targeting the Shia community,[7] and had a history of mental illness and firearms offenses.[8]

Terry Jones rally


On April 21, 2011, the day before the scheduled appearance of the anti-Islamic pastor Terry Jones, hundreds of people from different faiths gathered in a show of solidarity. Jews, Christians and other faith groups stood side by side with inter-locked arms in opposition to Jones' planned protest.[9][10]

School and education


The mosque operates the Muslim American Youth Academy (MAYA), an Islamic private elementary and middle school.[11]



The Islamic Center of America is a 120,000 sq. ft. religious space. It includes a meeting hall, an industrial kitchen, a prayer room, a high ceiling and calligraphy- embraided domes, a mezzanine for women, offices, meeting rooms and a library. Educational programs are run by Imam Hassan Qazwini[12]

See also



  1. ^ "Official Our Story – Islamic Center of America". Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Curtis, Edward E. (February 2022). Muslims of the Heartland How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest. NYU Press. ISBN 9781479812561.
  3. ^ "Official Our Story – Islamic Center of America". Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Islamic Center of America (CJ) - The Pluralism Project. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Diana Eck". Archived from the original on July 20, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Detroit Free Press: "Longtime leader of Dearborn mosque leaves amid split" Archived 2015-06-07 at the Wayback Machine June 5, 2015 By Niraj Warikoo
  6. ^ Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times: "Iraq’s Shadow Widens Sunni-Shiite Split in U.S." Archived 2017-06-26 at the Wayback Machine New York Times, February 4, 2007.
  7. ^ "Mosque plot suspect rejects first appointed counsel, calls lawyer 'Shi'ite'". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on April 23, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Mosque plot suspect planted bomb in airport in '85". Washington Times. February 2, 2011. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  9. ^ Dearborn Press and Guide: "Terry Jones to be here again on Friday" April 26, 2011
  10. ^ Dahoui-Charara, Mariam (April 21, 2011). "Hundreds Stand Together for Peace at Dearborn's Islamic Center". Patch Media. Dearborn, MI. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "Home Archived 2018-09-03 at the Wayback Machine." Muslim American Youth Academy. Retrieved on November 1, 2015. Address is "19500 Ford Road, Dearborn, MI 48128, United States"
  12. ^ "Official Our Story – Islamic Center of America". Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  • Official website
  • Official website
  • "In the Way of the Prophet: Ideologies and Institutions in Dearborn, Michigan, America's Muslim Capitol", at (Retrieved February 16, 2009)