Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 8 November 2005.Phone: 303-696-9800
HistoryThe Colorado Muslim Society (CMS), or Masjid Abu-Bakr, is arguably the most visible Muslim community in the Denver Metro area. Established in the late 1960s by a group of Arab immigrant families, the organization and community first established a community center in the early 1970s near the downtown area. Steadily growing membership and increased demand made it obvious that the space was inadequate. Plans to expand were put into place in the late years of the decade. Due to successful fundraising efforts, professional community planning and the generosity of donors abroad (namely the oil-rich Gulf countries), the Colorado Muslim Society broke ground on the building of Denver’s most recognizable Islamic Center in the early 1980s. Located in the suburb of Aurora, just southeast of Denver, Abu-Bakr is a Sunni community whose membership spans virtually every part of the global Muslim community. As the Denver area increases in population across all sectors of society, so does the demand on the community to provide Muslim services to its newfound members. The planning board of the CMS some 25 years earlier predicted this development and prepared properly. Currently Masjid Abu-Bakr is completing the final stages of its multi-million dollar expansion, thus doubling the size of its prayer facilities.
Throughout its history the community has seen some very interesting developments. Anytime there is a spike in national anti-Muslim sentiment, the Colorado Muslim Society regularly feels the brunt of the impact. One such example is when CMS was at the center of national controversy when Denver Nuggets basketball player, Mahmoud Abdu Rauf, failed to stand for the national anthem before a game. The incident incited national debate and concern, and on a local level, CMS was the victim of retaliation. Then, Denver’s most popular morning radio shock-jock DJs thought it would be humorous to enter the Islamic center during live broadcast with a small marching band playing the national anthem. The ridicule led to outrage across Denver’s Muslim and non-Muslim community, resulting in the firing of the DJs and increased community support for the CMC.
DescriptionStructurally, Masjid-Abu Bakr is the only Islamic center in Denver that actually looks like a conventional mosque. It has a large dome with an adjacent minaret and is located along Parker road in Aurora, which is one of the busier streets of Denver. Within a ten-mile radius of the Mosque there are numerous Middle Eastern grocery stores and restaurants. Just a few blocks away is Crescent View Academy, an Islamic parochial school, with which CMS is affiliated. The school provides K-8 education for both Muslims and non-Muslims and stresses learning the Arabic language and general Islamic knowledge. Because of its success as a credible institution of learning, Crescent View has been approved eligible for a voucher system by surrounding school districts.
Like most mosques, Abu-Bakr offers the five daily prayers and hosts a congregational Friday prayer. The attendance at the Friday prayer is estimated to be between 1,000-1,200 attendees. The mosque offers classes and lectures on various Islamic subjects 3-4 times a week. Most classes are conducted by the resident Imam or by a local teacher from Crescent View. The courses cover Islamic jurisprudence, history and Quranic tafseer (exegesis). The Mosque also hosts a K-12 Islamic Sunday school that encourages students to learn Islamic ways of life at an early age. Most of the teachers in the school are young adults between the ages of 18-24 and commit their time on a voluntary basis. On a typical Friday, after the prayer service one can see over a dozen vendors selling things such as Islamic clothing, books, supplies, vegetables, rice and other necessities. Because of its centrality and accessibility, the Mosque has become a hub for Muslim civic life.
The CMS has a voting body in the area of 250-300 members. The membership elects members to a Shura or exective committee, which then in turn selects a president. The president then selects a cabinet, which then deals with the administrative issues of the Center. The elected Shura maintains, envisions and ensures the Mosque’s general direction and is also responsible in part for public relations necessities. The Imam is an employee of the executive board and deals primarily with only the specific religious needs of the community.