The Outreach Community and Reform Center (OCRC) was established on November 28th, 2006. The purpose of the OCRC is to carry on religious and charitable activities. Before they got a new building, they used to hold Eid prayers in the Malden High School gym and Ramadan iftars used to be held in the cafeteria. The OCRC also invites local and foreign Muslim Scholars to further expand the knowledge of the community and to educate them about the different aspects of Islam.

In April 2019, the OCRC succeeded in achieving a long time goal that is getting a new place in Malden to accommodate the growing Muslim population in Malden and to further develop its activities. The renovation of the building took over a year to make it suitable for an Islamic center. The grand opening has been delayed for months due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. On Saturday, October 3rd the OCRC organized a small ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its doors for the public.

Kindergarten classroom at the OCRC learning the Arabic Alphabet. Photo by Chaimaa Assli

Attending the ceremony was Mayor Gary Christenson, Police Chief Kevin Molis and some city council members including Ward 4 City Councilor Ryan O’Malley and Ward 1 City Councilor Peg Crowe. This event was also open to the neighbors. The event started off at 2:00 pm with a tour of the new building. Everyone got to see the prayer room and classrooms used for the weekend school. After the tour, everyone gathered in the prayer room to listen to the speakers. The speakers included Abdul Hamid, a member of the Board of Trustees, then followed the Mayor, and finally, Abdul Wahab Khushafa closed off. After the speakers, the Mayor, Police Chief, Abdul Hamid, Laila Shari, and two City Council members lined up to cut the ribbon.

Everyone was socially distancing and wearing their masks. There were hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes available for everyone. There were also stickers on the floor that showed everyone where to stand.

Larbi Braer, a member of the Board of Directors said that there is a greater sense of community. He states that “[they] are hoping to spread a positive image of Islam and to expand and reach out to the community in a positive way.” They are trying to improve the community as much as they can.

Ward 1 city councilor Peg Crowe, police chief Kevin Molis, Abdul Hamid from the board of trustees for the OCRC, Mayor Gary Christenson, Laila Shari, and Ward 4 city councilor Ryan O’Malley were getting ready to cut the ribbon. Photo by Chaimaa Assli

When Mayor Christenson was still a City Councilor, Adil Bousalem contacted him about a vision 15 years ago. Christenson was “ in awe” to see what they had achieved and explained “It [does not] matter where they are so long as [they are] in Malden.”

To Adil Bousalem the new mosque is a celebration of years of struggle to achieve this goal. After many years of fundraisers, talking to the people of the city and trying to find a place with the market in Malden was not easy. Even with this building, it took about a year and a half to negotiate and secure the area before it could finally open. Bousalem states “the building itself celebrates their hard work, community, board members and volunteers.” This is something they have dreamed of for years and have finally achieved it.

Mayor giving a speech before the ribbon cutting. Photo by Chaimaa Assli

Police Chief Kevin Molis has known this community right from the beginning. When he first found out about their existence he sought them out. He believes that it is important for a city to develop relationships with people who decided that this is where they want to live, work and worship. Molis lives in the neighborhood so this event is both personal and professional. He said it means a lot to him that a religious community would see Malden as a welcoming place. Although he is impressed with the new place he believes that “God can be worshipped anywhere.”

The OCRC values the youth. They believe that the youth are the future leaders of Islam in America. There is also an after school program that teaches Arabic, Islamic studies, and Quran at the OCRC to the youth.

The OCRC intends to change its name to the Malden Islamic Center (MIC).

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2 thoughts on “New Mosque Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

  1. I’m very proud of you my Dear Chaymaa, and congratulations to you on the opening of the new Masjid, I wish I could attend, I hope and pray you will benefit from all the programs.

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