Local media reported last month on plans by the Houston chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) to build a new Islamic center. According to the report:
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 The Islamic Circle of North American Houston chapter has purchased 10 acres in the Fairfield area with plans to build a Muslim worship and community center. The chapter, which bought the land at 19025 Wilks Drive near Mueschke Road, hopes to build a Masjid, which is space for worship and prayer, a support center for those entering the faith, celebrations center for observing Muslim holidays, Interfaith Islamic Learning Foundation Center to encourage interfaith dialogue, a youth center and facilities to support outreach and human services programs The Islamic Circle of North America was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Jamaica, NY. Islay Choudry, a member of the chapter’s building committee, said a temporary structure to serve as the initial Masjid is going up on site. The remaining structures will be built in phases, the details of which are still being worked out. ‘Our plans and hopes for this center include promoting open dialogue and interfaith discussion. Our goals are to provide a place for the worship of God, to learn how to bring up families in the right way and to teach how God wants us to interact with one another. Over a period of time people will find the center is a good thing for society,’ he said. He touted humanitarian efforts undertaken by ICNA–Houston during hurricane Ike as an example of the group’s desire to serve the community. The organization received a $2.5 million FEMA grant at that time, according to Choudry. ‘We worked a lot in the Galveston community,’ he said. The Pakistani born Choudry first immigrated to Canada and then to Houston in 1996 where he worked as an engineer for the Houston-Galveston Area Council for 14 years. He currently works for the humanitarian organization Helping Hand for Relief and Development and volunteers for ICNA-Houston. ‘Muslims have been here for a long time in the U.S., even from the beginning. Once the center is open, we will invite people to come and see the work. We plan to be very open,’ he said. Choudry said he understands the concerns that sometimes arise among residents when a new Muslim center comes to a community, in light of world events and acts of terror perpetrated in the name of Islam. He personally denounces such activity and said, ‘People should not fear. This will be a place to worship God,’ he said. Choudry noted that more and more Muslims are moving to the Fairfield, Cypress and Tomball area and a new Muslim support program and classes already meet in the Barker-Cypress and FM 529 area.
Information about the Houston chapter may be found here.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a less well-known part of the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S., generally thought to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia, itself known to be allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society, a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and tied to the Egyptian organization, and the two organizations have been holding joint annual conventions for many years. Previous posts have discussed ICNA ad campaigns intended to present Islam to the U.S. public. The New York campaign drew national media attention when it was reported that Siraj Wahajj, an American Islamic convert associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was behind the New York campaign. A post from March reported on a new ICNA educational campaign on Shari’ah (Islamic Law) . A post from August 2011 discussed a personal appeal for donations from the founder and former president of ICNA to support ICNA’s “Understanding Shari’ah” campaign.
The Investigative Project (IP) has recently published a new report on titled “ICNA Embraces America’s Favorite Salafi Preacher.” In April, IP published a report on ICNA titled “ICNA’s Radicalization Continues.”