First Mosque to be Built in Zion, Illinois
Historic Groundbreaking Draws Prominent Officials, Neighbors
On July 10, 2021 The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) USA held the foundation stone ceremony for Zion, Illinois’ first purpose-built mosque at the Zion-Benton High School, located a mile from the mosque site. AMC’s Zion Chapter has called the city home for over 40 years, previously using the historic Booker T. Washington Social Club building as their mosque and mission house. That location allowed the chapter to strengthen its ties with the city of Zion through developing relationships with, and serving the needs of, its people.
The history of the Zion Mosque can be traced back two decades when AMC USA’s then President, Mr. Mirza Muzzafar Ahmad, launched the Zion Project to build camaraderie with Zion’s residents by sponsoring efforts towards social service, interfaith and propagational activities around Zion.
The initiative led to a series of programs which continued yearly, including the popular ‘Love for All Hatred for None, 3 on 3 basketball tournament’; the partnership with the SHADES Multicultural group to help provide scholarships for students and organize annual Black History events with Zion Benton High School; and the Annual Zion Appreciation luncheon. The Zion Project has financed numerous such events funded through AMC USA member donations, helping to bring Ahmad’s vision to life and contributing to the Zion Mosque’s construction.
At the ceremony, AMC USA was honored to host several dignitaries with whom it has enjoyed an enduring relationship, including Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, partner and friend of the Chicago Glen Ellyn Chapter; State Representative Joyce Mason, dear friend of the Zion Chapter whose son has participated in the 3 on 3; Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg, old friend of the Zion Chapter who rose from local law enforcement to Zion’s County Sheriff and even the Honorable Mayor and hometown basketball celebrity, Billy McKinney, a longtime friend of the Zion Chapter and previously a commissioner who helped ensure approval for the Mosque’s zoning approval request in 2015.
Dignitaries spoke about their relationship with AMC USA and its continued positive impact on the community considering its growing presence in Zion. Hundreds of guests from around the US along with local community members were also in attendance, including a neighbor to the new mosque, Mr. Larry Collins, who played a significant role in supporting the Mosque’s construction. Friendships like these have helped to make this moment possible, powered by the vision of the Zion Project that the true teachings of Islam can unite diverse communities in fellowship.
Laying The Foundation
At the construction site, several AMC USA representatives (including from its women’s auxiliary Lajna USA) as well as other notable officials and local dignitaries were given the opportunity to lay foundation stones to be placed at the base of the mosque. Expected to be completed in Spring 2022, the new Fatih-e-Azeem mosque, built on the 10-acre plot purchased by the Zion Chapter in 2015. The 14,000 sq. ft. structure will host a prayer space to accommodate 200 worshipers.
The Zion Mosque will be dedicated to the ladies of AMC USA, who raised more than 40% of its close to $5 million expected cost. Insha’Allah (if Allah so wills), it will amplify the prayers of those who sacrificed their time and efforts to make this feat possible and serve as a great symbol of cooperation and peace for the city of Zion.