Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 22 September 2014.Phone: 201-252-7573
The Islamic Learning Center was founded by members of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a grassroots Sunni Muslim American umbrella organization. They spent years participating in the congregation and offering classes at the Islamic Center of Jersey City (ICJC) but decided, due to slight differences of opinions on certain Islamic practices and to logistical inconveniences of reserving space, to establish a learning center that would offer educational services the Jersey City community. Since 2000, the ILC has offered weekly lectures, classes on the various sciences within Islam including the understanding of the Qur’an, monthly family programs, and Ramadan dinners (iftars). While the classes are accessible to all members, the ILC additionally offers classes specifically for women and children. In 2012, the ILC began offering weekly Friday prayer services. In 2014, ILC offered for the first time nightly Ramadan prayers (taraweeh), an act of worship recommended during the month of fasting.
The Islamic Learning Center is unique in Jersey City in that it seeks not to serve a particular ethnic group or school of thought but to welcome to any Muslim or non-Muslim interested in learning about Islam. The ILC is also one of the first Islamic centers in Jersey City to offer services in the English language, thus appealing to the interests of the new Muslim population and youth members. The Center offers classes for new Muslims and hosts the Jersey City chapter meetings of “Young Muslims,” a national Muslim networking organization dedicated to strengthening community ties among high school youth members. Additionally, female scholars hold classes for women, which often take place in different members’ homes to accommodate immigrant women who may be unable to drive or leave their homes. ILC occasionally partakes in interfaith activity, although no significant effort has been made to establish ties with other religious centers. The Center does promote community involvement through activities such as a “Summer Back to School Drive” where members collect and distribute school supplies to Jersey City students.
Description of Center
The ILC is located in a four-story house on a residential street. The house was recently renovated to serve the needs of the community. The main floor was converted into a spacious prayer area and classroom with brand new carpeting; in addition to classroom space, the second floor was outfitted with a speaker system to make the floor accessible to women for prayers. The attic was turned into a game room for the youth and the basement is being transformed into a kitchen and food pantry. The ILC board is also hoping to expand the Center by purchasing a neighboring house.
Currently, the ILC does not have an imam but ILC’s Board (comprised of six members) does invite various scholars and teachers to hold classes on the Islamic sciences throughout the year.
Activities and Schedule
Although the ILC is not open daily for congregational prayers, it does offer weekly Friday prayer services along with weekly Qur’an classes for men on Thursdays, and for women and children on Saturdays. On the first Friday of every month the Center holds a family program, which is often dedicated to discussing relevant themes in the Qur’an. In addition, the Center offers various seminars throughout the year led by local and visiting scholars. During the month of Ramadan, the ILC invites members and individuals of other faiths to iftar events, where dinner is offered following the day’s fast. In 2014, the ILC also began offering nightly prayer services during Ramadan (taraweeh).
The Islamic Learning Center is primarily South Asian American in membership, with a mix of immigrant individuals and individuals raised in Jersey City. Since ILC is one of the only Islamic centers to offer classes and lectures in the English language, the location also draws many youth members and new converts of various ethnicities and backgrounds.