The 8 Most Beautifully Designed Mosques in the United States
By: Lindsey Penn/Arab America Contributing Writer
The United States has a diverse population, including diverse religions. There are many Muslims in the United States, therefore, there are many mosques as well. Some of these mosques are huge and well-known for their beautiful architecture and designs that take influence from the Arab world but are still distinct. The following mosques are renowned because of the engineering and style.
Islamic Center of America – Dearborn, Michigan
The Islamic Center of America is a complex with a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the highest population of Arabs in the United States. It was established in 1963, and the mosque built in 2005 is North America’s largest one. In 1949, Imam Jawad Chirri came up with the idea after coming to the United States and not knowing any English. His hope was to create a community for Muslims. Even though it is in Dearborn, it serves people in the Detroit area and all of the United States.
The mosque itself is 92,000 square feet, including a school, library, and conference center. Outside, the minarets are ten stories tall. There are three golden domes made with glazed bricks, with the biggest one being 150 feet tall. On the inside, Arabic calligraphy painted in gold decorates the ceilings and glass chandeliers hang in the hallways.
Islamic Center of Washington – Washington DC
The center was officially founded in 1952 after discussions between Mr. Abu Al Hawa and the then-Egyptian Ambassador Mahmood Hassan Pasha. Together, they found the funding for the mosque to be built. They hired an Italian architect, Mario Rossi, to design the building. Egypt even donated a huge bronze chandelier and sent the specialists to write the Quranic verses on the mosque’s walls and the ceiling. The tiles on the inside of the mosque came from Turkey and Persian rugs were donated by Iran.
Diyanet Center of America – Lanham Maryland
The main center was founded in 2013, although the mosque had its beginnings as early as 1993. In 2013, Prime Minister Erdogan and Mehmet Gormez worked together to create the current complex. It has a mosque, school, soup kitchen, Turkish bath, hospital, and a cultural center. The entire complex is designed in the “Kulliye” style, the basis of a traditional Islamic city. For example, the mosque is the center of the complex and has classical Ottoman architecture, although it has some American architectural style in it as well. Most of the materials used to build the mosque (marble, stone, wood, and tiles) were made by Turkish craftsmen and then shipped here.
Islamic Center of Greater Toledo – Toledo, Ohio
Built in 1982 on 48 acres of land, the Islamic Center was created in order to accommodate the growing number of Muslims in Toledo, Ohio. At the time, there weren’t many mosques in the area. The mosque is an example of classic Islamic architecture and took a whole decade to fully plan. In 1991, two wings were added to the building to expand even more. On the outside, the mosque has two minarets and a Qubba dome, with highly ornate doors at the front of the mosque. The windows are stained glass with Quranic verses painted on them. Inside the center, there is also a museum with different artifacts from all over the Muslim world.
Dar Al-Islam – Abiquiu, New Mexico
Opened in 1982, this complex has a very unusual style. In this complex, the mosque and the school are in the center. Hasan Fathy, the famous architect, designed the building to combine traditional Egyptian brick-making and the standard style of New Mexico. He even brought Nubian masons with him when they started the construction so that they could demonstrate their brick-making and building techniques. The mosque was built with adobe, a standard style of houses in New Mexico. However, even with the different material, it retains the Islamic style. The ceiling of the prayer hall is arches and domes, with the main dome over the mihrab being Sassanid style.
Al-Farooq Masjid – Atlanta, Georgia
The mosque originally started small in 1980, but quickly grew to meet the needs of the surrounding Muslim community. It is one of the largest mosques in the southeastern region of the United States. The current mosque was completed in 2008. This mosque is shaped like an octagon, has two copper domes (the larger one similar to the Dome of the Rock), a minaret, pointed arches in entryways, and balconies covered with mashrabiya, or carved wooden latticework. In total, the mosque can fit about 5,000 people.
Assalam Center – Boca Raton, Florida
Built in 2008 on 10,000 square feet, this mosque embraces the Florida weather with a more open plan. It has two copper domes, one smaller than the other. The outside is decorated with blue and yellow tiles arranged in a geometric design. At night, the mosque is also lit up, emphasizing the geometric design. The architecture was influenced by Spanish and Arabic styles, but also incorporated common styles in Florida. For example, the minaret is a Spanish style, but also has components of Florida-style in it. Also, the colors of the tiles on the outside were chosen because those colors are common in the Middle East.
Islamic Institute of Orange County – Anaheim, CA
Also known as Masjid Omar al-Farouk, the center was built in 1991, and then expanded on in 2001-2005. The building is modern, with a tan outside and stucco that surrounds the entrance arch. It still has components of traditional Islamic architecture with a minaret that is decorated with patterned tile and a copper dome over the prayer hall.
Check out Arab America’s blog here!