Encyclopedia Of Detroit

American Moslem Society (Masjid Dearborn)

While the first mosque in metropolitan Detroit had been established in Highland Park, the need for an Islamic religious center in Dearborn became apparent to Ford Motor Company Muslim employees who lived near the Rouge Plant. By 1937, the ground floor of a building on Vernor Highway in Dearborn was completed. Many of those involved in founding the new center were Sunni Muslims from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

The mosque’s increasing number of attendees, especially during Friday and holiday prayers, led to the need for expansion. Building construction continued into the 1950s. A first-floor prayer hall, lecture hall, office, two small minarets and a large green dome were added. The size of the mosque increased from a few thousand to 12,000 square feet.

In 1982, a weekend school was added to the mosque to provide classes for the growing number of first-generation Muslims in the community. The community again decided to expand the mosque in 1986. The size of the building doubled from 12,000 to 24,000 square feet. In 2000, another expansion took place again doubling the space to 48,000 square feet. The weekend school was also expanded, and many facilities were added to the building.

Over the years, the composition of the mosque has broadened considerably from the original Lebanese affiliates to include Iraqis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and ethnic Americans. There are especially large numbers of Muslims from Yemen who have moved into the surrounding area and attend the Mosque. In addition, African Americans from Detroit who want to live and raise their families in a more predominantly Muslim neighborhood have also settled in the area.

In addition to prayer, the center sponsors weekend lectures, classes on Islam, and instruction in the Arabic language.