Islamic Center of America

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Islamic Center of America
Islamic Center of America.jpg
LeadershipSheikh Ibrahim Kazerooni, Sheikh 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 / 42.329965°N 83.229761°W / 42.329965; -83.229761Coordinates: 42°19′48″N 83°13′47″W / 42.329965°N 83.229761°W / 42.329965; -83.229761
Architect(s)David Donnellon
TypeIslamic architecture
Construction cost$14 million
Capacity3,000 +
Dome height (outer)150-feet
Minaret height10 stories tall

The Islamic Center of America (Arabic: المركز الإسلامي في اميركا[1]) is a Shia mosque located in Dearborn, Michigan. Although the institution dates back to 1963,[2] the Center's current mosque opened in 2005. It is the largest mosque in North America[3][4] and the oldest Shia mosque in the United States.[5] With its large Shia Arab population (consisting mostly of Iraqis and Lebanese), Dearborn is often called the "heart of Shiism" in the United States.[6][7]

The Islamic Center of America is located at 19500 Ford Road in Dearborn. The institution was founded in 1962 by Muhammad Jawad Chirri, who remained its director until his death in 1994.


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

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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[8][8] 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.[8]

2007 vandalism[edit]

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 with the American Sunni Muslim community over the Iraq War and its Shia–Sunni conflict.[9]

2011 mosque bombing plot[edit]

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 Shi'ite community,[10] and had a history of mental illness and firearms offenses.[11]

Pastor Terry Jones rally[edit]

On April 21, 2011, the day before the scheduled appearance of 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.[12][13]


The mosque operates the Muslim American Youth Academy (MAYA), an Islamic private elementary and middle school.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "[1] Archived 2014-10-22 at the Wayback Machine." Islamic Center of America. Retrieved on October 27, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "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.
  3. ^ New Dearborn mosque to be the nation's largest. Michigan Daily, January 7, 2004. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  4. ^ Islam's US faithful are happy to embrace the American dream Archived 2017-09-21 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Telegraph, July 23, 2005. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  5. ^ The Doha Debates: Bio for Imam Sayid Hassan Al-Qazwini Archived 2015-06-19 at the Wayback Machine retrieved February 12, 2012
  6. ^ Victoria Advocate: "American Shias struggle with their future" July 25, 2009
  7. ^ Daily Telegraph: "Islam's US faithful are happy to embrace the American dream Archived 2017-09-21 at the Wayback Machine July 23, 2005
  8. ^ a b c 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
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ Dearborn Press and Guide: "Terry Jones to be here again on Friday" April 26, 2011
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "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"

External links[edit]

  • The Islamic Center of America
  • "In the Way of the Prophet: Ideologies and Institutions in Dearborn, Michigan, America's Muslim Capitol", at (Retrieved February 16, 2009)