The Islamic Center of New York is a religious and cultural organization established in the early 1960ís and planned as an Islamic institution comprising a Mosque, a school, a library, a lecture hall, a museum, and residence for its Imams. Its objectives include: (1) Serving the neighboring Muslim Community of Manhattan in particular, and the larger Muslim Communities of America in general, by answering their religious needs and providing them with a place of worship, as well as classes to help them (along with their children) to gain detailed knowledge about their religion; (2) enlightening American public opinion with true knowledge about Islam, its teachings, its ideology, its philosophy, culture and its countries; (3) providing Muslim Communities in the United States of America with religious guidance, and correct religious opinions and legal rulings of Islamic Law over religious, cultural and social critical questions; (4) promoting good understanding and friendly relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.
From its inception, The Islamic Center was privileged to be established, maintained, and supervised by the Muslim Ambassadors representing their countries at the United Nations who form the Board of its trustees. This gave the Center a prestigious position over other Muslim organizations, as the Centerís representation of religious attitudes serves to guide the general consensus for the greater Islamic tone of the global community, through the Centerís enjoyment of support from these Muslim countries.
Early in the sixties the Center started its function and activities on a small scale, from a modest town house situated at the corner of 72nd Street and Riverside Drive. But the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Center aspired to build a new impressive Center in a way suiting its prestigious position and the important Islamic role it plays, and also, to be one of the landmarks of New York City. Thus, an overall project comprising a mosque, a school, a library, a museum, and a lecture hall, was planned. The Board of Trustees directed their attention to start with the first phase of this project: The Mosque of New York.