Islamic Center of New England at Sharon

This profile was last updated in 2018

History

The Islamic Center of New England in Sharon was founded in 1993 as an extension of the Islamic Center of New England in Quincy, Massachusetts. As the number of Muslims living on the South Shore increased, it was clear that the existing Center in Quincy could not accommodate the entire population. When the search for a new location started, Sharon was a logical prospective location as there was already a substantial Muslim population in the area. In addition, Sharon is a very diverse town and happily welcomed the possibility of a new Islamic Center. In fact, many heads of major houses of worship in Sharon sent letters to support the building of the Islamic Center. On April 2, 1993, the ground was broken in Sharon on 55 acres of property formerly used for a horse farm. More than twenty priests, pastors, and rabbis from the Christian and Jewish communities of Greater Boston participated in the ground-breaking work.

Demographics

The congregation at the Islamic Center in Sharon is very diverse, and this diversity has increased over the past few years. The Islamic Center has members from the Middle East, Pakistan, India, East Asia, as well as African American and Caucasian members. The most commonly used language in the Center is English, even though Arabic and Urdu are also frequently heard.

Description

The Center’s first building, dedicated at the end of the month of Ramadan in March 1993, is a social hall large enough to accommodate 500 people. Prayers are conducted at the front of the hall, and there is space for tables and social activities at the back of the hall. The second building houses a day school and a weekend school.

Activities and Schedule

In addition to regular prayer times and services, the two largest celebrations at the ICNE in Sharon, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, come at the end of the holy month of Ramadan and during the month of the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), respectively. In addition to these major celebrations, many other events occur at the center. For example, every Friday night there is a social gathering at the Center for the community. The ICNE in Sharon also hosts many joint activities with other Islamic Centers in the area, including barbeques, food fairs, and picnics. The Islamic Center in Sharon houses the only K-8 Islamic day school in New England. On the weekends, the space is used for a weekend school that is run by a volunteer staff. At both the elementary school and weekend school, the goal is to help the youth develop a comfortable and confident Muslim identity while also studying Islamic teachings. The Islamic Center in Sharon also has many programs for adults who wish to become more knowledgeable about Islam. There are study circles and discussion circles lead by various members of the community.

Interfaith Work

The Islamic Center puts a very high priority on interfaith work. The Center’s members feel that interfaith work is one way to clear up the many misconceptions about Islam. The Center found that after the attacks of September 11, 2001, interest in Islam grew; in fact, after 9/11 the Islamic Center developed an interfaith committee to work solely on interfaith matters. One way the Center is active in interfaith work is that it serves as host to meetings and community service events held by the local interfaith youth group, Interfaith Action’s Youth Leadership Program. In addition, the Imam is very involved with the other clergy in Sharon. In terms of broader outreach, the Islamic Center also sponsors an interfaith program at the Sharon Public Library.