Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 20 March 2013.Phone: 563-359-8123
Physical DescriptionThe Muslim Community of the Quad Cities currently meets on a two acre complex in Bettendorf, Iowa containing an old house, a parking lot, and a children's play area. The three story house holds a kitchen and fellowship area on its first floor, men's and women's washing and prayer rooms on the second, and educational rooms on the third. Though the house does not reflect traditional mosque design styles, it has been well adapted to comfortably accommodate the needs of the community. Future group plans include the construction of a school or community center on the remainder of the property.
HistoryTwenty years ago, when Muslims first began arriving in the Quad Cities region from India and the Middle East, they went largely unnoticed by the general population. Most of these immigrant Muslims were employed as doctors or engineers and had come to the United States to pursue higher education. In 1989, members of this small group officially organized and rented a small building for use as a prayer hall in Rock Island, Illinois where they began meeting regularly for daily and Friday prayers. Regarding theses humble community beginnings, one interview subject noted, “We used to rent a room, and there was only about...for private prayer, about eight members. You could count four on your hand [on an average day], if you’re lucky.” This new organization proved vital to the maintenance and development of the community. As Muslims arrived in the area, they often found a spiritual home in one of the two area Islamic centers. Additionally, da’wa efforts aimed at the African American and prison communities attracted members who appreciated the supportive and egalitarian environment offered by the mosque. In 2000, the group moved from Rock Island to its present site in Bettendorf, Iowa where it holds daily and Friday prayer services, weekly educational classes and Qur’an recitation, and various holiday and fellowship gatherings.
DemographicsThe Quad Cities are a cluster of cities strattling the Mississippi River on the Iowa/Illinois border with a combined population of around 350,000. Muslims are evenly distributed throughout the metropolitan area and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Immigrant Muslims arriving in the region hail from such diverse places as the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia, India, and Pakistan. Additionally, due primarily to the group’s active da’wa efforts, about one third of its members are either Caucasian or African-Americans. All three of the current Imams at the mosque are of Middle-Eastern origin and prayer services take place in both Arabic and English. The community is by no means dominated by Middle Eastern customs, however, as African-Americans, Indonesians, and women all serve on the Shoora Council and hold leadership positions. In fact, as the mosque’s African-American Da’wa Chairperson pointed out, diversity is an asset because it allows the community to relate to various portions of the wider Quad Cities population.
Activities and ScheduleMany Muslims in the Quad Cities refer to the area Islamic population as one group with two centers. This being said, the Muslim Community of the Quad Cities and the Islamic Center of the Quad Cities jointly attempt to provide Islamic services and activities for the entire area Muslim population. Thus, both communities are open for daily and Friday prayer sessions which are attended by those working nearby. The Bettendorf community also holds Friday night Qur’an recitation and da’wa sessions which serve as both fellowship and educational gatherings for members. Finally, the two mosques often hold combined holiday celebrations on feast days such as Eid Adha and Eid ul-fitr.
Interfaith ActivitiesThe Muslim Community of the Quad Cities has been extremely active in promoting and participating in various types of interfaith dialogue over the past several years. As the Da’wa Chairperson remarked, “[Especially] since September 11th, there’s been a great deal of demand and requests for dialogue to the Muslim community by the churches [and] by universities and high schools.” To meet this demand, the group periodically holds night classes teaching non-Muslims about the Islamic tradition which have been popular and widely attended by interested ministers, students, and others. Also, the Da’wa Committee sponsors a program which sends community members to area high schools and colleges to discuss the Islamic faith and its relevance to national and international current events. Finally, one Muslim woman in the community helped to form an interfaith organization called Bridges of Faith which regularly meets to promote religious and cultural understanding between area Muslims, Christians, and Jews. These efforts have been rewarded by an increased popular understanding of Muslims, positive local media coverage, and a good civic image for the mosque.