Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 17 March 2016.Phone: 208-429-1866
[flickr_set id="72157621942318684"] History Although the first Muslim arrived in Boise in 1955 as a student at Boise State University, it was not until 1982 that the first Muslim community (15-20 members) formed in the city. Prayers were held in individual homes. In 1989 the community began renting an apartment building; in 1990, they relocated to a room at Boise State University; they relocated again 1991 to an office space. In 1996 the Muslim community grew significantly due to an influx of computer software companies and refugees from Bosnia, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Today, the Boise Mosque and Islamic Center is housed in a former a dance studio (and, prior to that, a church). There are two main rooms, one for women and one for men. Each room is lined with full-length mirrors (remnants from the dance studio) and the floors are covered with Persian carpets. Because Boise is a refugee relocation destination, the Muslim community in Boise has grown considerably in both size and diversity over the years. Members of the Boise Islamic Center come from all over the world and consequently come from all different types of cultures. The Islamic Center does its best to accommodate all of them, but it can be very difficult to take into account ethnic, racial, cultural, and even differences in the interpretation of Islam between the members. Because of these differences, the center has to be careful not to define too many parts of its structure. As the president of the center described it, it has to try “to honor all of those without enraging all of them at the same time.” The large size of the community is also an issue, and the group is already beginning to look for a bigger facility to house everyone. The Islamic Center has faced very little discrimination from the Boise community. Any discrimination has been in the form of isolated acts from very small groups of people. In such an event of threats or animosity, the Boise Police Department is very quick to offer additional services to the center. In fact, the Chief of Police will occasionally attend Friday services to demonstrate their support for the Muslim community in Boise. Demographics The vast majority of community members are refugees. The center estimates that it has about 26 to 36 different ethnic groups represented, but collecting membership data has been very difficult due to the size, cultural differences and language barriers. Membership is made up of about 200 to 300 people, but the size significantly fluctuates. The greater Muslim community in Boise is made up of thousands of people, and as a result, there can be something like 800 people attending for Eid. It is a predominantly young community, with many children. There are also a significant number of professionals who are members of the mosque that moved to Boise for their jobs, and therefore, most of the members are not originally from Idaho. Activities and Schedule The Mosque holds congregational prayers five times daily and Jum'ah prayer on Friday that often concludes with a small community lunch. There is weekly Islamic school for children on Sundays from 12-2pm. Furthermore, Arabic classes are offered daily prior to Magrib prayers. The last Saturday of each month, following Asr prayers, the congregation has a community dinner at the Islamic Center. The center also offers a boxing and soccer program for the kids, which will be held throughout the year. The team is open to non-Muslims as well as Muslims. In addition to the prayer schedule, the Islamic Center offers a variety of free community services. These services include refugee orientations, hosting of Muslim speakers, mosque tours for non-Muslims interested in learning about Islam, language classes, burial assistance, access to a Muslim cemetery, counseling, marriage performances, charity distribution and charity work and Islamic school. Because so many of the members are refugees, the center tries to accommodate the community in every way necessary.