Fundraiser for the Islamic Center of North Detroit, Masjid Al-Falah

By Adil James, MMNS

Bloomfield–February 16–”Wonderful teamwork” was the underlying theme of a recent fundraiser at the Muslim Unity Center of Bloomfield Hills this past Saturday night on behalf of the Islamic Center of North Detroit, Masjid Al-Falah.

There were about 150 people present for the occasion, at which the keynote speaker and primary fundraiser was the former president of ISNA, Sheikh Abdullah Idris Ali. Also speaking was Prof. Abusayed Mahfuz of Wayne County Community College, who also serves as executive committee member and the chair of the education committee at the mosque.

There were brief speeches by the primary fundraiser, Sheikh Abdullah Idris Ali, who spoke of the importance of making places where young Muslims feel comfortable to come, and by several people affiliated with the mosque, and by other imams. There was a video showing the mosque and its facilities, including one showing the deep popularity of the mosque as reflected by many people, forced to pray on the sidewalk outside the mosque because of overcrowding inside the mosque.

In part the warmth of teamwork was shown just by the fact of the Bloomfield mosque’s holding a fundraiser for a mosque in a completely different area which is perhaps 40 minutes away. In part the warmth was shown by the presence of people who themselves attended many different area mosques–not just the two mosques directly involved in the fundraiser.

Another testament to the warm feeling of the mosque was the explanation of Dr. Bashar Qalieh, a pediatric physician who made a point to attend the fundraiser on the basis that he attends the mosque during special occasions like Ramadan in order to give his children the feeling of attending a mosque with a spiritual feeling, where people are sometimes poor and in need of the food that the mosque gives.

The mosque is so crowded, says the doctor, that “You have to come early just to make sure you have a place to pray inside.”

“I make sure to attend the iftar there during Ramadan, just to feel the simplicity.”

“That’s one thing we have is wonderful teamwork,” says Prof. Mahfuz. “Rarely do you find a mosque like that,” said the Profesor, who worked as emcee of the fundraiser and who is deeply involved with the mosque’s activities.

The mosque has the deep involvement primarily of three different Muslim communities, namely Yemenis, Bengalis, and African Americans. This is reflected in the administration of the mosque and the school, and in the composition of the student body of the school.

In fact, the name Islamic Center of North Detroit is misleading because the mosque borders Hamtramck. In Hamtramck there are 6 Bengali mosques, 2 Bosnian mosques, and 2 Yemeni mosques–10 mosques in total.

The president of the mosque is Sheikh Sulayman Ali, who also serves as imam of the Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs (MCWS).

ICND was established in 1989. Right now, according to Prof. Mahfuz, over a thousand people attend Juma’a prayers at the mosque. During ‘Eid, around 2,500 attend a celebration for which the mosque is forced to also use its school and gymnasium grounds.

Perhaps indicative of the general tone of the mosque is its policy on moonsighting. Prof. Mahfuz explains, “We try to cooperate with everybody–we don’t have one extreme way, but we consult and then we try to follow that. We follow the global philosophy the last couple of years. We take into consideration when the other Michigan mosques do.”

He says, “We are really happy to say that this is a very rare and unique mosque; it is multicultural and multi-dimensional. We strictly maintain lectures in English. Youth development–we are especially concerned about the youth. For women also–women are I think one of our strongest groups. Sometimes they have their own ‘Eid celebrations–especially in a community like this that is almost rare.”

Like other mosques in the Hamtramck area, the adhan is done using loud-speakers at ICND, but the volume is limited.

“The school has been running for the last 16 years–the first Islamic high school in all of Michigan. Alhamdulillah is spiritually, Islamic commitment wise, it’s run by African Americans, but it has many Yemenis, Bengalis students. I was a teacher there. Probably mostly Yemenis mostly, 35-40% African American. The remaining students are Bengalis.”

The school administration is a balanced administration, with representation of brothers and sisters and Yemenis and African Americans and Bengalis.

“We have limited resources,“ explains Prof. Mahfuz, but we do our best and, “our students, many go to Wayne State, and one or two go to University of Michigan. But Alhamdulillah our academic level may not be the best, but Alhamdulillah it is very good.”

If you are interested in supporting the mosque, its phone number is 313-368-5308, and it is located at 12500 McDougall St., Detroit, MI 48212.


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