The ISLAMIC CENTER OF CLEVELAND, located at 6055 W. 130 St. in PARMA, serves as both a place of worship and a socio-cultural educational center for the Muslim community of the region. As one of the most important Islamic institutions in the Greater Cleveland area, the ICC got its start in 1966 when several area Muslims began holding ritual prayers together in their respective homes and other locations in and around UNIV. CIRCLE. In 1967 the group consisted of 39 persons. It was then decided to establish formally the Islamic Center of Cleveland. By July 1968 the membership bought a multi-family house at W. 94th St. and Detroit Ave. with the purpose of converting it into a mosque. Structural modifications were made to include a prayer hall, a library, and classrooms. The ICC moved into its new home in the fall of 1969.

In the spring of 1975, Saudi Arabia's King Khalid, who had met with ICC representatives during one of his stays at the CLEVELAND CLINIC, saw to it that the $26,000 balance of the mortgage owed was paid off in accordance with Islamic Shari'a forbidding "reeba" (usury). He had agreed that as Muslims, the ICC membership should not be paying interest of any kind. Through the 1970s, about 100 families made up the ICC membership. These Muslim families were literally from all walks of life and from the four corners of the world: North-American converts, Latin Americans, Arabs from all part of the Middle East and North Africa, Indo-Pakistanis from the sub-continent, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Europe, and Iran. The ICC was considered unique in the U.S. for its inclusion of so many nationalities worshipping together under one roof. This has continued to be the case. With further immigration, new converts, and growing families, in March 1986 the membership increased to 1,000, necessitating the rental of outside facilities. The search began for more suitable facilities, and in 1988 the ICC acquired land in Parma, where a new mosque was built.

See also RELIGION.

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