Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 12 December 2014.Phone: 309-664-0304
When first founded, the Islamic Center of Bloomington Normal consisted of four to five families gathering for prayer. As more immigrant Muslims began to arrive in Bloomington, particularly to work at State Farm Insurance, the need for an official mosque increased. The Center was bought in 1999 to accommodate this growing population and has since expanded greatly. Today, it functions as a community center and is at the heart of both religious and social life for Muslims in the area. During Eid 2014, large donations were made towards the pursuit of a new and even larger space.
The Islamic Center sits towards the end of a line of commercial rental units with a large parking lot. Upon entering, visitors are asked to remove their shoes and place them in one of the several shoe racks provided. The bathrooms are nearby, equipped with ablution stations for devotees to perform wudu. There are two prayer areas, one for women and one for men. Both areas are carpeted with demarcations towards the qibla. A television hangs in the women’s room so that visitors may watch the imam’s khutbah (sermon). The women’s prayer room also has books and toys for children. The kitchen and recreation area are spacious, although the imam notes that they are already too small to host the many children that attend Sunday school. There is a ping pong table in the recreation area that young men use after prayer services.
The imam serves as the spiritual advisor to and religious director of the Islamic Center of Bloomington Normal. He works full-time and presides over all five daily prayers and Friday Jum’ah. Between 12-15 volunteer instructors (mostly female) teach Sunday school. The ICBN’s Board of Directors is comprised of about 12-15 men and women who oversee the day-to-day needs of the mosque.
Activities and Schedule
One of the most dynamic features of the ICBN is the Sunday School which follows the academic calendar and welcomes sixty young children weekly. Students are taught three subjects: Islamic Studies (including the five pillars), Islamic History (the life of the Prophet), and Qur’anic Studies (memorization and recitation of the Qur’an). During the summer, the schedule changes to shorter sessions.
Hundreds in the community observe Ramadan, the holiest time of the Islamic year. Iftar is provided at the Islamic Center on Saturdays during the month, with an Eid dinner drawing 300-400 attendees. Many donate food to local pantries and shelters during this time. During Ramadan 2014, ICBN co-hosted programming with another local mosque, Masjid Ibrahim.
ICBN and its members also participate in interfaith activities, including interfaith service lunches and discussion panels and, in the past, interfaith iftars. Members have also worked side by side with members of Resurrection Lutheran Church to complete at Habitat for Humanity project. Each year, members of ICBN also help provide a Thanksgiving meal to offenders living with mental illness.
Members are mostly young professionals and families, although many members who are of an older generation were instrumental to the founding of the mosque. The majority of members are South Asian, primarily coming from India and Pakistan, with a variety of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Palestine also represented. African and Caucasian Muslims are also members of the mosque, which welcomes all races and ethnicities to pray together.