The Los Angeles Building and Safety Department has issued final approval for building a new mosque and community center on a historic stretch of Central Avenue, just miles from downtown Los Angeles. On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Masjid Bilal Islamic Center held the official groundbreaking for its new multi-million dollar rebuilding project.
Religious and community leaders including 9th District Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price, attended the groundbreaking ceremony. Masjid Bilal, recognized as the oldest identifiable Muslim community in Los Angeles, is beginning construction of a beautiful new Masjid and Community Center.
"It took us a while—we had many hurdles to cross—but we now have the building permits in-hand for the mosque, minaret, and the community center," project designer Asad Khan, President of Langdon-Wilson International Architectural Firm, told the crowd in attendance. "The mosque and 55 foot-tall minaret will be built first, and then we will complete the community center.
The construction of this beautiful new Islamic complex will take place on 56,000 sq. ft. of debt-free land owned by the Masjid Bilal Islamic Center community. Upon completion, the facility will encompass an entire city block on the intersection of Martin Luther King Blvd and Central Avenue.
"What an exciting day in the new 9th (district)," stated Councilman Price. "We know what an important role this Mosque has played in our community—right here on Central Avenue. This is going to be a facility not just for Muslims, but for others as well."
In 2014, Councilman Price, who is Christian, successfully led an effort to have the month of July officially declared Muslim History Month in the city of Los Angeles.
"I'm proud of the involvement we've had over the past few years since I've been in office," added Price. "We appreciate the unique role the Mosque is playing, not just in the development of resources for our kids, but for the contribution you're making up and down this corridor and in our city."
Masjid Bilal has been an intricate part of L.A. history for over sixty years. In 1973, the community purchased a historic three-story brick building on an acre of land for $180,000.00. The building, located just miles from downtown Los Angeles, was completely remodeled to accommodate the religious and educational needs of the community. However, during the 1980s several strong earthquakes rumbled through the area. Masjid Bilal was ravaged and forced to be demolished.
"We have been blessed with the approval of the city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Building & Safety Department," said Imam Abdul Karim Hasan. "I'm really overwhelmed by the support we have received from local people and political people including the Mayor's office and our district councilman Curren Price."
Imam Abdul Karim Hasan has been the religious leader of Masjid Bilal for nearly a half-century. Under his guidance, the community launched a three-phase plan in 1999 to build a new masjid, school and business complex on their vast property. Phase one saw the completion of a beautiful new two-story, 16-classroom educational facility named Bilal Learning Center, which opened in 2007.
Final design plans for phase two, which is building the new masjid and community center, were submitted to the city of Los Angeles in August of 2016. The final permits were issued on November 16, 2018.
"This is really a special day—not just for Muslims, but for the entire surrounding community," said Dr. Dafer Dakhil from the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation. "The building of this masjid on this site is critical to the American Muslim community and to this neighborhood."
"I wouldn't want to miss this very historic day," said noted scholar Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Orange County. "Imam Abdul Karim Hasan and I have known each other a very long time— I pray to Allah that the groundbreaking today brings this project into fruition very soon."
When complete, the new Masjid Bilal Islamic Center complex will serve as a permanent testament to the contributions and history of Muslims in Los Angeles. For more information about this historic rebuilding project or to make a tax-deductible donation—visit the Masjid Bilal website at www.MasjidBilalOnline.
Donations can also be sent by check payable to Masjid Bilal Islamic Center—4016 S. Central Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90011. Make donations by electronic transfer utilizing Bank of America—Acct# 325110240655 / Routing# 121000358.
The Masjid Bilal community believes that with Allah's help, this project will forge ahead towards the future with the same energy and determination that has defined the community for more than sixty years. All G-d conscious people are invited to join in the blessings of building this wonderous new house of worship for the city of Los Angeles.