Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 11 October 2009.
DescriptionThe Islamic Message Foundation is a cultural center for Shi'a Muslims in the greater New Orleans area. It is not a mosque but it does serve as a place for prayer on special occasions. The center was opened in 1999 after members purchased a former restaurant located near the intersection of General de Gaulle and Florence Drive. The space was renovated to create a large central hall, with a small kitchen and restrooms at the rear. A trailor was added out back where a large playground offers space for recreation. The large hall runs the width of the building and serves many purposes. Wall-to-wall carpeting lies beneath several large Persian carpets. The back wall has long bookshelves filled with Arabic and Persian books on various aspects of Islam. What used to be the restaurant's front entrance now has a niche which orients the faithful towards Mecca during prayers. A metal bar allows a curtain to be drawn to divide the room in two when separate classroom space is required.
Activities and ScheduleThe I.M.F. Center's main function is to provide space for the Al-Zahraa Weekend School of New Orleans. The school teaches Arabic language classes and the principles of Islam to children aged 3 - 16 years. The classes are held on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and are taught by parents who volunteer their time. The center also hosts wedding ceremonies and provides space for funerals. Special events are held for Eid al-Fitr, Edi al-Adha, Eid al-Gadhir and for the Ashura commemorations at Muharram. The Center also hosts events during Ramadan, the month of fasting from sunrise to sunset.
HistoryThe I.M.F. Center was founded in 1999 by a group of Shi'a Muslims who felt the need for space to hold community activities. The current President is Mr. Hadi Kassim, an Iraqi who has lived in New Orleans for more than 25 years. For special events the I.M.F. Center has hosted over 200 Muslims who travel from points all around the greater New Orleans area and beyond.
DemographicsMembers of the I.M.F. Center are first- and second-generation Americans from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and other Asian countries.