OUR HISTORY

Prior to 2000, the Muslims of New Hyde Park and the surrounding areas held Jummah prayers at different locations. Brothers Khwaja Naeem and Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan helped the community organize a more structured approach for the five daily prayers, Jummah, and religious classes for children. These activities took place in the basement of Arshy Grocery on Hillside Ave between 259th and 260th Streets, which was owned by Brother Naeem. Meanwhile,the Taraweeh prayers were held at different churches and synagogues in the area. In 2002, the children’s classes and Jumu’ah prayers moved to Elk’s Lodge located at 901 Lakeville Road.

Later that same year, to continue the journey of serving the local Muslim community, a committee was formed consisting of Brothers Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan, Abdul Basir Kazi, Imtiaz Rahi, Dr. Iqbal Jangda and Saleem Tatari. Brother Abdul Basir Kazi proposed the name of the organization to be the Hillside Islamic Center (“HIC”), which was unanimously agreed upon by all the board members. Later the name was officially filed with the New York Department of State’s Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code. The first bylaws were also drafted at that time.

The roles taken on by the members of the first committee were as follows:

President: Br. Abdul Basir Kazi
Vice President: Br. Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan
Secretary: Dr. Iqbal Jangda
Treasurer: Br. Saleem Tatari
Members: Br. Imtiaz Rahi, Br. Mohammad Billo, Br. Habeeb Afridi, Dr. Batti, Br. Khaled Saleem, and Br. Moshiur Ahmed

This management committee later evolved into the Board of Trustees (“BOT”) and and amendments were added to the bylaws to reflect these changes. The current Board of Trustees are:

Chair: Br. Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan
Secretary: Dr. Iqbal Jangda
Treasurer: Br. Saleem Tatari
Members: Br. Abdul Basir Kazi, Br. Mohammed Yasim Khan, Br. Mohammed Arif, and Br. Mohammad Koush.

In April 2003, the Hillside Islamic Center signed a contract to purchase 300 Hillside Ave for $725,000. While HIC only had $35,000 on hand and six months to close, by the blessings of Allah (SWT) the community came together and was able to raise the entire amount by July 2003. Unfortunately, HIC was unable to take possession of the property until 2005, when a tax lien of $450,000 that the sellers were responsible for was vacated. Once necessary renovations were completed, HIC was able to conduct most activities at 300 Hillside Ave, with the exception of the weekend classes.

Even at this time, the 300 Hillside Ave building ran out of space to serve the burgeoning Muslim population in its surrounding Queens and Nassau County neighborhoods. The New Hyde Park-North Shore Elks Lodge and its manager, Tom Capichee, played a significant role in allowing HIC to run its activities. The Elks Lodge generously allowed HIC to rent the hall for Jummah and Eid prayers, while the basement was used for Sunday classes.

The local Muslim community was very appreciative of all the efforts made to bring all Muslims together irrespective of race, ethnicity and the various schools of thought. As members of the community started utilizing its services more and more, it became clear that the congregation needed more space. After consulting with the community, the committee bought four adjacent homes as they came on the market. Alhamdulillah, once again, the community rallied and raised the funds to pay the significant cost of acquiring these homes.

In 2010, after purchasing the adjacent homes, the community decided to construct a new building for the Hillside Islamic Center at 300 Hillside Ave. The HIC formed a Construction Committee, hired an architect, and filed the plan for approval. Until this time, HIC had very cordial relationships with its immediate neighbors and the residents did not have any issues with the activities or the usage of the existing buildings. However, the impending construction of a non-residential facility made some local residents nervous about congestion and other issues. They vigorously protested the plans for the new facility and it took nearly two years and multiple accomodations to get the plan approved, all praises due to Allah.

In 2012, HIC hired contractor Br. Jan Mohammad, moved to a temporarily rented location 4 blocks away at 271-01 80th Ave, and broke ground on the new facility. The construction took four years to complete due to a variety of reasons. By the blessings of the Almighty Allah (SWT) as well as thanks to the Trustees and the HIC community, the financing of the construction was never a hurdle. In 2017, one day before the beginning of blessed month of Ramadan, the community was able to move to the newly completed building.

While trustees usually serve in an oversight role over an executive team, the HIC Board of Trustees initially fulfilled both roles. By the grace of Allah, the growth of the community necessitated a larger leadership team, and so in 2016 two executive committees were formed under the BoT to improve the functioning of HIC: the Brothers’ Executive Committee through election and the Sisters’ Executive Committee through selection.

Many sincere brothers and sisters have sacrificed their time and efforts to make the Hillside Islamic Center what it is today: a community that transcends the conventional view of a place of worship and instead helps its members practice Islam as a complete way of life. May Allah (SWT) reward them and us all. Aameen.