Islamic Community Center of Phoenix

This profile was last updated in 2003

Overview

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP) moved into its present mosque (a former church) in 1997. Started by Muslim residents of the north Valley twenty-five years ago, the congregation has moved several times to keep pace with the steady growth of the community. Dependent entirely on the donations of its members, the ICCP has managed to purchase land adjoining the present mosque and is planning a new, permanent structure at the location. The new mosque is designed to accommodate over 1,000 worshippers for Juma’a (Friday congregational) prayers.

Activities and Schedule

The mosque is open for daily salat and for Friday congregational worship. The mosque also sponsors weekend study circles (halaqahs) on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, treating subjects such as Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), Qur’an recitation, and Arabic for children. There are no Arabic lessons for adults. The present Imam, Imam Mahmoud, graduated from al-Azhar in Cairo with a specialty in Hadith (Prophetic Traditions), and has been serving the community in Phoenix for approximately a year and a half. The Imam reports that most of the questions he receives from the community are for guidance on domestic issues and about issues concerning shari’a (Islamic law). Since September 11th, the Imam has reported several incidents of harassment directed at mosque members, particularly Muslim women who observe standards of traditional modest dress (hijab). Imam Mahmoud also participates in monthly interfaith meetings with Jewish and Christian leaders in the north Valley.

Demographics

The mosque serves a predominantly Arab-American membership, with many worshippers of Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian heritage. In addition, a number of African-American converts to Islam also regularly participate in Juma’a prayers. The membership is largely professional, well-educated and family-oriented.

Description

The mosque was formerly a church, renovated to produce the proper qibla orientation and include facilities for ablutions. A small minbar serves as pulpit for the Friday ‘sermon’ (khutba).