The idea of the Islamic center of Long Island grew out of the concerns of a small group of Muslim families, mostly immigrants who settled in Nassau County in the early 70’s. The need to preserve their religious identity, cultural heritage, and desire to educate their children in Islamic principles drew these families together, often on weekends.
Initially a small group comprised of 10-15 children started meeting on weekends. Meetings were initially held in nursery school in Hempstead, L.I., in basements of private homes, rented church facilities that were often very accommodating to the needs of these “new” immigrants. The Advent Church in Westbury, run by Quaker Foundation, was particularly accommodating. The assembled groups of students were “taught” by parents who volunteered their time. Over a period of time, through word of mouth, more families started to get together and the group realized the need for a permanent home.
Following are some key historical facts about the birth of the current ICLI:
- The property at 835 Brush Hollow Road was purchased in 1984.
- The small two-story house had an adjoining open piece of land, which was earmarked for the construction of a “mosque”.
- The funds for the purchase of this property came from private donations, mostly from the “core” group of families.
- ICLI was incorporated as a non-profit entity in April 1982 (Rajab 1402) under the provisions of the Religious Corporation Law.
- The small house on the property was altered to accommodate the needs of the children and adults.
- The first Friday congregation prayer had three adults participating and the weekend classes had an average of 15-20 children.
- Construction for the present structure began in July 1989 and was completed in 1991 at a cost of approximately two million dollars.
- The center comprises of a mosque, with its inspiring prayer room featuring traditional Islamic architecture set in a modern American context, a library, classrooms and offices totaling an area of approximately 10,000 square feet.
- The center is open to all who want to learn and practice Islam.