History of Mosques

Islamic Center of Washington, Washington D.C.



MBC Documentary clip on the Islamic Center, Washington DC 04-22-2006

The Islamic Center of Washington is a mosque and Islamic cultural center in Washington D.C., located on Embassy Row just east of the bridge over Rock Creek. MosWashington

When it opened in 1957, the Islamic Center of Washington was the largest Muslim place of worship in the Western Hemisphere. Some 6,000 people attend prayers there each Friday.

The idea for the center was originally conceived in 1944 when the Turkish ambassador died and there was no mosque in which to hold his funeral. The Washington diplomatic community played a leading role in the effort to have a mosque constructed.

Support came from the Muslim American community and most of the Islamic nations of the world, who donated money, decorations, and craftsmen to the project.

The site was purchased in 1946 and the corner stone was laid in 1949. The building was designed by Italian architect Mario Rossi and was dedicated on June 28, 1957 with President Eisenhower in attendance.

The Islamic Center continues to be controlled by a board of governors made up of various ambassadors. Around the building are the flags of the Islamic nations of the world.

The mosque has been visited by many high profile dignitaries, including several presidents. The highest profile visit was by George W. Bush on September 17, 2001 only days after the September 11th attacks. On national television Bush quoted from the Koran and worked to assure Americans that vast majority of Muslims are peaceful.

As well as a mosque, the center contains classrooms where courses on Islam and the Arabic language are taught and a library.

Quick Facts

Location: 2551 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, DC

Phone: 202-332-8343

Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00am- 5:00pm, Sun 10:00am- 2:00pm

Services: Friday Prayer begins at 1:30pm. Classes on Islam, the Quran and the Arabic language are held on Saturdays and Sundays.