Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 14 March 2016.Phone: 303-444-6345
The Islamic Center of Boulder was founded in the late 1970s by a group of students at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder). CU Boulder has historically been a leading institution of higher learning in the areas of the hard sciences; engineering, biology, chemistry etc. As the oil based economies of the Middle East expanded, various governments were quick to ensure their future prosperity by investing human and financial resources into these growing industries. The industrialization of these societies caused various Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, United Arab Emirates etc., to send large numbers of students to the United States in order to harness and cultivate the skills and resources necessary to secure the newfound income. It was initially students such as these and their efforts that led to the formation of the Islamic Center of Boulder (ICB).
Up until the mid 1990s the center was primarily Arab populated. Most activities were conducted in Arabic and the community was mostly male. However in the 1990s, Colorado saw a tremendous boom in population and economic activity, as many high-tech companies located in Colorado benefited by the so-called dotcom revolution. A number of such companies are located in Boulder County and surrounding areas. Many of the members of the ICB today are employees of companies such as Sun Microsystems, IBM, and StorageTech. As such, the ICB’s membership is now much more diversified than in previous years. Arabs still play a large part in the Center but by no means constitute a majority. Most activities are conducted in English with occasional instances of Arabic, which are then translated into English.
At one point in history attempts were made to open an Islamic University in Boulder County. Although those attempts were never actualized, the ICB has since been home to very influential Muslim scholars; including authors, researchers, and lectures. For a few years in the early 1990s, the ICB would host a weeklong intensive conference that brought in speakers from various parts of the Muslim world to provide participants the opportunity to gain knowledge on various subjects related to Islamic jurisprudence, history, rituals and so forth. The conference would draw participants from around the nation to partake in this unique event. A few individuals in the community actually chose to live in Boulder as a result of attending these conferences and finding the community conducive to the demands of an Islamic lifestyle. It is significant to note that many of the conference lecturers are now leading authors and speakers in the Muslim world.
The ICB is a Sunni community and at times has been accused of being a ‘Wahhabi’ mosque; a label the membership finds both comical and insulting. The mosque itself is extremely small, allowing prayer space only for men during congregational rituals. However, the women’s committee of the mosque, which is mostly composed of the wives of male members and female students, conducts its own prayer services in an adjacent residential unit. Structurally the mosque consists of an executive board and a shura committee. The shura committee is appointed by existing shura members. Shura members at the ICB are typically learned scholars. Its role is to ensure that the mosque functions in accordance with the religious principles of the Quran and the Sunnah, or way of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Meanwhile, the executive committee manages regular administrative duties such as organizing community activities.
A dinner and lecture are provided every Friday night at the mosque for male members, while the women’s committee coordinates various activities for itself. Arabic classes are taught regularly through the mosque. Six nights out of the week members who wish to improve on their Quranic recitation and memorization attend the mosque, practice and rely upon other members for tutelage who might either be a hafiz (someone who has memorized the entire Quran) or simply someone who has extensive knowledge of the Quran. The Islamic Center of Boulder emphasizes religious knowledge and practice above all other things, and as such, encourages members to develop techniques and habits aimed at increasing their means of worship. The congregational prayer on any given Friday may hold just over 100 attendees, dinners and lectures may have up to 50 attendees, while official membership is hard to approximate. During the Eid ceremonies, the community rents out larger spaces that may hold up to 500 people.