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Open Mosque Series: The Midwest Islamic Center (Masjid al-Huda)
By Dina Rehab

November 2, 2006

The Midwest Islamic Center, commonly known as Masjid Al-Huda, is the only Islamic Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. The center, comprised of a mosque and a weekend Islamic school, serves several neighboring suburbs located within an 8 mile radius of the center; suburbs include: Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Roselle, Hanover Park, Streamwood, Bartlett and Elk Grove.

"The center serves approximately 10,000 families within an 8 mile radius," explained Rezwanul Haque, one of the key leaders at the Midwest Islamic Center, "that's 10,000 families not individuals," he emphasized.

Congregants are of a variety of ethnicities which include roughly 85% Indo-Pakistani, 15% Bosnian, Arab (predominantly Egyptian and Moroccan) and white. The female attendance to the mosque is approximately 80% (male) to 20% (female) for prayer, and 60% (male) to 40% (female) for events.

History
Real steps to build a mosque in the Schaumburg area began in 1992, as the need to serve the rising Muslim population in the area became more prevalent. Extreme measures; however, to expedite the fundraising and building process were evident post 9-11.

"After 9-11, it was very difficult for us to rent out a place for Friday prayers" said Haque. The need of building a mosque, as well as an Islamic Center, increased post 9-11 when residents could no longer rent out halls for Friday prayers.

Congregants first prayed in the mosque in December 2001. The Islamic center received its temporary occupancy in 2004 and official occupancy in mid-October of 2006.

Programs & Services
The center holds a variety of services which include two Friday sermons and prayers (with a total of approximately 1,000 attendees each week), a weekend Islamic school (pre-school through 8th grade), Tafsir classes (an explanation of the meaning of the Qur'an) classes, lectures, charity distribution, performance of Nikah (religious wedding ceremony) and funeral services, an annual Mawlad Al-Nabawi (birth of the prophet) celebration, an annual workshop on Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) that educates pilgrims on the proper protocols of Hajj, an annual busy bee camp for girls and boys and an annual interfaith iftar (breaking of fast during Ramadan) with members of the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Clergy Association.

"I have been coming for four years," said Syeda Hussain, sophomore at UIC majoring in Math Teaching Education, referring to Rabab Gomaa's weekly lectures for teenagers and college students. "It's great! Every time, I learn something new."

The Board
The board currently has 11 members of which 5 are life-time trustees and 6 are rotating members. Rotating members are selected every 3 years by the existing board members. Currently board members include: Dawood Gul (President), Jawed Akram (General Secretary), Abdul Wahid Karim, Mohammed Farooq Patel, Ahmed Karim, Rezwanul Haque, Jamil Zara, Aqeel Akhtar, Mir Maqsood Ali, Mustafa Abdullah, and Asif Sabri.

When asked about the absence of female board members, Haque responded: "We plan on nominating active female members during the next rotation, insha'Allah. We are not against female participation, actually the current principal of the weekend school is female and over 50% of the teachers are female."

Goals
The Midwest Islamic Center has purchased additional parking space to better serve local congregants; however, funds are being collected as part of a short-term project to pave the parking lot.

The center also has long-term plans of expanding the prayer hall, which the mosque design accounted for during the planning stages of the mosque.

Those who wish to contribute to these expansion projects can do so by contacting Rezwanul Haque, or by attending the center's upcoming fundraising dinner on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006, 7 p.m. at Montys Elegant Banquet in Bensenville. For more information, please call the Midwest Islamic Center at 630-529-1786.

Dina Rehab is CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator, contact her at outreach@cairchicago.org for more information on the Open Mosque series.


Copyright CAIR-Chicago 2006