Islam in Greater Boston

 

Early 1900s  Muslim and Christian Lebanese and Syrian immigrants settle in Greater Boston.

1934  Seven Muslim families from Quincy Point establish The Arab American Banner Society, serving cultural, social, and charitable purposes.

1937-1952    The Arab American Banner Society, located at 470 South Street in Quincy, holds Friday prayersPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not., or Jum’ah, and Eid celebrations, and gradually begins to offer various religious education programs to teach Islamic traditions and values.

1955   After a few years of meeting in the home of one of its members, the visit of the Honorable ElijahElijah was a ninth century BCE Hebrew prophet and visionary. According to tradition, he did not die but was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2). Elijah’s periodic return to eart. has become part of the rabbinical and mystical Jewish traditi... MuhammadThe Prophet Muhammad, known as “the Seal of the Prophets,” was born in the city of Makkah on the Arabian peninsula in 570 C.E. At 40, he began to receive a series of revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. His small group of followers met with... to Boston marks a turning point for the community that would form Muhammad’s MosqueMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... #11 (also TempleA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... #11), a Nation of IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to... mosque.

1957  Muhammad’s Mosque #11 is officially founded. The community purchases and restores a building at 35 Intervale Street in Dorchester to accommodate the growing Muslim community.

1958  The Harvard Islamic Society, a model for other university campuses, is organized by three students: an African American, a Sudanese, and a Palestinian.

1960s Ahmadi Muslims arrive in Boston, gathering at local homes for prayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not..

1962-1964 The Arab American Banner Society builds a mosque on South Street in Quincy. Mohammed Omar Awad, a first-generation immigrant, serves as the first imamImam means “leader,” particularly the person who leads the daily ritual prayer or, more broadly, to the one who serves as a leader of the community because of his religious learning. In Shi’i Islam, it refers to one of a succession of direct descend.... Quincy mosque leaders become involved in the Federation of Islamic Associations, which organizes Muslim communities. The mosque would become known as the Islamic CenterAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic... of New England in Quincy.

1965  The Immigration and Nationality Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, results in a drastic increase of immigration from Asia and the Middle East. Many religious minority groups, including the Muslim community, expand dramatically throughout Greater Boston and other parts of the United States.

1970 The Society for Islamic Brotherhood (SIB) rents, and later purchases, a building on Shawmut Avenue in Roxbury. Their mosque, Masjidun Li Hamdi AllahAllah is the word for God in Arabic, used by Arabic-speaking Christians, Jews, and Muslims. According to Islam, Allah is the creator and ruler of the entire universe, the ultimate judge of all human beings, characterized by mercy and compassion. By means ... (the Mosque for the Praising of Allah), would become one of the oldest continuously operating mosquesMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... in Boston.

Early 1970s The Boston SufiSufism is often called “the heart of Islam,” as its emphasis on the inner life enlivens and supplements the outward practices of ritual and legal obligation. It is not a sect of Islam, but rather a stream of interpretation stressing the interior path,... Order is founded, offering Universal Worship Services, classes, and dances.

1973 The Boston Nizari IsmailiIsmaili Shi’ah refers to the group of Shi’i Muslims who, upon the death of the sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq in 765, affirmed his son Isma’il to be the next Imam. The Ismailis further split in 1094 into Mustali and Nizari branches. Emphasizing the ne... Cultural Center is established by students at MIT and Harvard.

1977 Shakir Mahmoud becomes imam of the Muhammad’s Mosque #11 in Dorchester. Under his leadership, the community begins its transition from the Nation of IslamThe Lost-Found Nation of Islam in America, begun by Wallace D. Fard in Detroit in the 1930’s, was developed by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad preached some Islamic principles, but his lessons about the superiority of the Black Man were c... to SunniSunni Muslims emphasize the authoritative role of the consensus of religious scholars (‘ulama) in interpreting the Qur’an and the Sunnah (custom) of the Prophet. The community could thus choose any good Muslim as a successor (khalifah) to Muhammad, th... Islam.

1979  The Islamic Center of Boston is established to accommodate the growing population of Muslim immigrant professionals in the western suburbs of Boston.

The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester is established.

1980-1983 The community of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah funds a full-time Islamic primary school.

1981 Muslim students from universities in Greater Boston organize to form the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), located in Cambridge, to assist independent Islamic societies in various aspects of religious life.

1982 The Muslim World League and the local Muslim community bring Talal Eid, who was educated in Lebanon and Egypt, to Quincy to serve as imam. Eid’s work in Greater Boston includes great expansion of the religious education and interfaith dialogue in New England.

1984 Temple #11 changes its name to MasjidMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... Al-Qur’an, signifying the community’s shift from following the Nation of Islam to Sunni Islam.

The Islamic Council of New England is established, serving as an umbrella organization for all Islamic centersAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic... and masajid in New England, and actively promoting interfaith dialogue.

1985 The New England Muslim Sisters Association (NEMSA) is formed to promote Islamic rights for women in various capacities, sponsoring conferences for Muslim women, assisting in the organization of local events, and actively distributing information about Islam.

1987  The Islamic Center of Boston purchases property in Wayland.

1988  The Muslim Council of Boston (MCB) is formed.

1990  The Muslim Youth of New England program is developed to provide more educational resources and social opportunities for Muslim youth.

The Boston Nizari Ismaili Cultural Center relocates to Commonwealth Avenue, which has a jamat khanaa (house of congregation) and two classrooms for religious education.

The Society for Islamic Brotherhood begins an effort to establish the first unified “Eid Prayer in Boston.”

March 1990  A fire at the Quincy mosque causes about $500,000 in damage. Though the community comes together to restore the mosque, the population has grown to such an extent that its members soon seek a larger site.

1991 The Islamic Center of New England purchases a former horse farm to convert into a new Islamic Center in Sharon.

The Islamic Society of Boston purchases a duplex on Prospect Street in Cambridge for a community center.

1992 The Muslim Council of Boston submits a proposal to the Boston Redevelopment Authority for a parcel of land in Roxbury to develop a mosque and community center. The proposal receives the support of neighborhood representatives and city and state authorities and the Boston Redevelopment Authority designates the MCB as the developer of the land.

The Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland opens a community center, with classrooms and a social hall.

The Islamic Center of New England breaks ground at its new site in Sharon, with the help of many members of local Jewish and Christian communities.

1993 The Islamic Center of New England (ICNE) in Sharon is officially established, serving as an extension of the Islamic Center of New England in Quincy.

The Islamic Society of Boston purchases and renovates a former Knights of Columbus Hall near their original site on Prospect Street to host religious events for the Muslim community.

1994 Alhamra Academy, a full-time Islamic school, is founded by the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester.

1995 The Mosque for the Praising of Allah starts the Islamic Multi-Service Organization to address the social service needs of the Muslim community.

The Islamic Masumeen Center of New England is founded to provide a home to the growing Jafari community in Hopkinton. Originally serving only six families, the Hopkinton center grows to include over 100 families.

Masjid Al-Qur’an (formerly Mosque #11), which organizes 9,000 men to go to the Million Man March in Washington, DC, is widely credited with helping to significantly reduce crime and violence in Boston.

1997 A center for the AhmadiyyaThe Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam was established in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He claimed to be the Messiah of this age, awaited by Muslims, Christians, and others. The missionary movement of his followers is now established in more than 144 coun... Movement in Islam, Boston Chapter, is established in Sharon.

1998 The Boston Redevelopment Agency approves the purchase of land in Roxbury jointly by the Muslim Council of Boston and the Cambridge-based Islamic Society of Boston.

The Islamic Society of Framingham is established, operating Masjid-e-Basheer as a place of worship and community center.

1999 The Muslim American Society (MAS) Boston Chapter is founded.

The Islamic Center of Burlington is established as a multi-cultural, community service, and religious organization.

2000 Al-Noor Academy, located in Mansfield, is founded, emphasizing Islamic values through coursework and extracurricular activities.

2001 Alhuda Academy in Worcester is established, with over 100 students enrolling in pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade.

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Muslim communities throughout Greater Boston devote many of their resources to educating the non-Muslim community on Islam and increasingly engage in outreach and interfaith activities.

2002  Imam Talal Eid establishes the Islamic Institute of Boston, a research institute that addresses the growing needs of the Muslim community.

November 7, 2002 A groundbreaking is held at the future site of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), with Mayor Thomas Menino and Congressman Mike Capuano in attendance.

2004  Construction on the ISBCC mosque begins in Roxbury. For a more detailed history of the ISBCC in Roxbury, click here:

The Dawoodi Bohra sect, which originally met in Christian and Jewish worship spaces in Chelmsford, moves to its new mosque in North Billerica and serves over 250 members.

 June 2007     The Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS-Boston) assumes formal leadership of the ISBCC.

June 9, 2007 Thousands of people, including Muslims and non-Muslims alike, are present for a celebration of the capping of the minaretThe minaret is a tower often built to adorn a mosque, from which the call to prayer may be sounded. at the ISBCC.

June 27, 2007 The ISB and MAS hold an “Intercommunity Solidarity Day” at the ISBCC to emphasize the valuable addition of the cultural center for the broader Boston community.

July 26, 2009 The ISBCC formally opens its doors. Public officials, local residents, faith and civic leaders, and Boston’s Muslim community gather for the grand inauguration of the landmark ISBCC, which is the largest Islamic center in New England. An estimated 3,000 people attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, which is followed by Jum’ah prayers.