The Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN), in Tennessee, hosted on April 13 a grand opening for its new location and mosque in Bellevue after 20 years of work on construction and official permissions, WSMV News 4 reported.
“Feeling the spirituality component, the community aspect, having members of the greater Nashville outside community celebrating this with us is very meaningful,” said Rashed Fakhruddin of ICN.
The Islamic center bought land on Charlotte Pike in the mid-1990s. In addition to the mosque, the building also houses the Nashville International Academy, which serves students from Pre-kindergarten to 8th grades.
The initiation event of the mosque was also open for interfaith visitors and tours from across the local community in Bellevue. The opening of the new mosque was welcomed from the citizens of the town regardless of their faiths.
In the mid-1970s, there were very few Muslims in Nashville. Only a handful used to offer weekly Friday prayer at the Black Cultural Center of Vanderbilt University.
As time progressed, attendance in Friday prayer gradually grew from 5 to 40 by 1979. At that time, the Nashville Muslims got together and organized themselves for the first time, paving the way for the formal emergence of the ICN.
With a collection of $30,000 and a generous donation from Yusuf Islam of England, the ICN purchased an old house in 1979. The community continued to use it as a mosque until 1989 when the old house was demolished and a new mosque was built.
The Muslim community of Nashville kept growing at a fast rate throughout the ’90s. In 1995, the ICN bought the 10.6-acre land on Charlotte Pike. Development of this land constituted the core of the community’s challenge.
Besides the mosque, ICN’s major achievements include the purchase of land for Muslim graveyard, the purchase of land for Muslim Community Complex for a full-time Islamic school, community center and mosque, the establishment of a full-time Islamic school as well as a weekend Islamic school, and the launching of many other social, religious and educational activities.
The ICN provides educational opportunities for people of other faiths to learn about Islam. Schools, classes, churches, individuals, institutions, etc. visit the mosque on a weekly basis to help in the coexistence between the community’s various groups.
The Muslims of Nashville are well diverse with ethnic representations from all over the Islamic World. Yet, the community is quite cohesive, well organized and closely tied together.
Presently, the greater Nashville community has over 30,000 Muslims and five major mosques in Nashville; Islamic Center of Nashville, Salahadeen Center of Nashville, Masjid Al-Farooq, Islamic Center of Tennessee and Masjid Al-Islam.