The oldest Islamic house of worship in the city, the Islamic Center in Washington D.C. is a symbol of Islam in America. More than 6,000 people in the D.C. area from 75 different countries attend prayers there each Friday. When the Center was first opened in 1957, it was the largest Muslim place of worship in the Western Hemisphere. Since its beginnings, the Islamic Center has committed itself to promoting a better understanding of Islam in the United States. Serving as a source of guidance for Muslims, the Center offers Islamic literature and provides help to needy families. In addition, the Islamic Center offers: officiating marriage ceremonies, counseling those in need, providing a research center with an extensive library, and organizing language and religious classes for both children and adults.
Located on Embassy Row, just east of the bridge over Rock Creek, the Islamic Center is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, so if you’re taking the Metro, you’ll want the Dupont Circle Red Line. Its exact location is: 2551 Massachusetts Avenue. The Islamic Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Via www.CheapHotels.org, the leading hotel booking site for budget hotels, you can find cheap hotels in Washington.
History of Islamic Center
The idea for the Islamic Center in Washington D.C. was initiated in November 1944 during a conversation between Mr. M. Abu Al Hawa, a Palestinian immigrant and businessman, and the former Ambassador of Egypt, Mr. Mahmood Hassan Pasha. Shortly after this important exchange of words, a few diplomats and American Muslims formed the Washington Mosque Foundation, which quickly grew to include membership from every Islamic nation in the world, as well as American citizens. The Foundation was able to raise enough money to buy the land where the Center currently resides and the cornerstone was laid on January 11, 1949. Like many other places of worship in Washington D.C., the building came to realization through gifts and monetary support-mostly from foreign governments. For example, Egypt sent the solid bronze chandelier; the Shah of Iran donated the Persian carpets; and the Turkish government gave the tiles which line the mosque walls. Not only did foreign governments offer monetary support, but they also sent workers to move the project along. Craftsmen from Egypt came to Washington D.C. to manifest the artwork of Quranic verses on the ceiling of the mosque. And, the Turkish government sent craftsmen to lay the tiles on the mosque walls. Designed by noted Italian architect Prof. Mario Rossi, the Center celebrated its opening on June 28, 1957.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower remarks of the Mosque and Islam
At the dedication ceremony, former United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower affirmed the Islamic world’s “traditions of learning and rich culture” which have “for centuries contributed to the building of civilization.” His closing remarks were: “As I stand beneath these graceful arches, surrounded on every side by friends from far and near, I am convinced that our common goals are both right and promising. Faithful to the demands of justice and of brotherhood, each working according to the lights of his own conscience, our world must advance along the paths of peace.