Islamic Life Center to begin building in spring 2022

Ayaan Nadeem

For sophomore Asim Syed, the Al Salam masjid was a key part of his life. “Not only did I meet many friends, but Al Salam also helped shape who I am today,” Syed said. “I’ve also met people of other religious faiths through the Al Salam community and the Islamic Life Center (ILC) can provide that for many children today.” Al Salam is a Islamic Non Profit organization established in 2012. 

Syed is not alone in this thought process. With only 2 small masjids in Carmel, many Muslim youth at CHS feel the need for a new masjid and see the benefits of how it will help the community.

“The masjid being built will help not only me and other Muslim students at CHS but those of other faiths as well. Muslim students can create a bond with other Muslims who attend CHS they might have never known before. For non-muslim students, they can learn more about their classmate’s religion. The ILC, in general, will help the whole community of Carmel come together.” Syed added. A masjid is the Arabic term for house of worship while the English term is mosque. The ILC will be built at 141st and Shelbourne Street.

“We want to try to make the ILC as available to the youth as possible. We will have many new amenities that we didn’t have before, such as the multipurpose hall, gymnasium, and more.” Board member Ashar Madni said. “We will also have many programs and events that will be helpful and beneficial for the youth.” 

They will also have many family events such as potlucks and Ramadan iftars which is when Muslims break their fast in the holy month.

The Muslim practice of Ramadan is also coming up. Ramadan is a very important month for Muslim’s as it was the month their sacred text, the Quran was revealed. Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar which follows a lunar based cycle. This year Ramadan will start on the night of April 2.

“Ramadan helps me as a student because it keeps me focused and inquisitive. During Ramadan I focus on improving parts of myself that may need work,” senior Daniyal Sher said. “I think a place(ILC) that includes all and inspires positivity is a place any community could use, which is whyI believe it(ILC) will unite mot only the Muslim community together but everyone and not just during Ramadan, but every single day.” 

“I think the ILC will bring a deeper sense of religion and faith to the Muslims at CHS. Those who aren’t Muslim at CHS will be able to learn more about my religion,” freshman Jazib Qureshi said. 

“The primary purpose of the ILC is a masjid,”  Madni said. “It is a much bigger area and the masjids here in Carmel are very small and cramped currently. With a much bigger space I believe that many more people will come to the masjid and by doing so developing a deeper connection with their religion. This especially goes for the youth in our community who haven’t had the experiance of having a large masjid, which will help them with one of the 5 pillars of Islam, salah or prayer.” 

The ILC is expected to start in spring and for the project to be fully completed by late 2023.

Qureshi said, “I will be able to go to the masjid a lot more often now. I can attend the daily prayers. I will also be able to see my friends and be able to go there with them. I never really had the kind of opportunities the ILC is bringing before and I am really excited that I can experience this.” 

Getting this far in the project was difficult. The people who lived near the proposed area showed their opposition. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center in 2010, 25% of Americans say that local communities should be able to prohibit the building of mosques. After 3 years the ILC has made it to the final stages of their project. They were approved by the Technical Advisory Committee of Carmel and are now ready to start the process of building the ILC. It was being reviewed for 9 months before they received their approval in November.

Syed said, “Not only will the Muslim community come closer together but they will be able to connect with other communities in Carmel creating a deeper sense of community in Carmel as a whole,” 

One main problem remains for the ILC: Funding. 

“So while we are getting everything ready with the city to begin, another aspect of this project we need to consider is funding,” Madni said. “We don’t have all the money we need to fund the project completely but we do have enough to start and do all the preparations needed such as putting in water pipes, sewage pipes and level the ground and prepare it for building.” 

“I think it’s vital that everyone understands that the ILC is not only for the Muslim community but it will help support the entire community of Carmel,” Syed said.