Masjid:- “Omar ben Abdel-Aziz”, The Islamic Foundation, Inc. started with Taraweeh prayer in the basement of the home of Brother Mohammad Jaffar in 1989 which lead to the five daily prayers and Islamic classes in the basement of Brother Mohammad Khaleel. In 1990 we then moved to Brother Mashmood Ally’s newly purchased home in Queens Village. The basement was donated for the month of Ramadan. After that the Islamic Foundation was granted permission from the City of New York to use an Elementary school for the of Saturday classes for the children, this provision was very costly. we also use to hire the YMCA building to conduct Masressa classes, Eid Prayers and other related program scheduled for the year.
The present building was bought on September 30th, 1992 and was renovated to accommodate the prayer area on second floor and a Madressa, Kitchen, washroom, and other facilities on the first floor. The site now owns an adjacent lot for further expansion. Presently it has been used as a parking lot for cars and the lot has been paid for in full. The 103 precinct and the Department of Traffic has allowed three hours of free parking on 161& 162 street from Hillside to Jamaica Avenue on Fridays and on special occasions.
This building can accommodate approximately 421 people. It is a brick and cement block, two story building, situated just after two houses from Hillside Avenue and easily accessible to subway (F & E train to Parsons Blvd.) and buses. Imam Mohamed Azeem Khan, the Founder of the Masjid is a prominent name and leader of the community. Imam Khan is the Imam and General Director of the Corporation. Imam Khan is the Treasurer of the Majlis Ashura of New York Metropolitan Area. He is also on the Board of Trustee of the Muslim Day Parade. He is a member of MANA (Muslim Alliance of North America) and member of Association of African American Imams, Inc.
Imam Khan came from a religious background where his grandfather and father were both Imams and had served Masajids in Guyana South America. The Imam worked with the Demerara Bauxite Company known as The Canadian Bauxite / Aluminum Company as a computer specialist. Imam Abdul Azeem Khan was previously living in the Bronx and was involved with the Anjuman Hifazatul Al-Islam and Sunnatul Jamaat. As an entrepreneur, Imam Khan has offered time to the Masjid, arranged educational and Dawah programs and played an instrumental role in collaboration to clean up the neighborhood of prostitution and drugs.
The police department and Assemblyman William Scarborough commended the Imam, The Board of Trustees and other Community Activist for the work being done to get rid of the drugs and prostitution in 161 and 162 street. During the struggle to clean up the area, two persons died in 161 and 162 Street.
Now, in a better environment a Church has been opened across the street from the Masjid. The Pastor is very cooperative to the activities that we conduct on a daily basis especially in Ramaadan. We do work together regarding major programs conducted in the area. The neighborhood commended Imam Khan and the Muslim community for cleaning up the streets of drugs and prostitution.
The Muslims now own several buildings in the area and rent them out. The Muslim Weekly won a Category 2: Best Feature “Cleansing the Neighborhood” which got third place in the IPA 2004’s Award Winning Articles for Masjid: “Omar Ben Abdel – Aziz. The theme for the article written by Jawad Anwar was “Masjid and Mimbar”. This is a major success story for Muslims. In 2009 Imam Khan and the community received a citation of honor from the Helen Marshall, the president of borough of Queens. Imam Khan and the community received a proclamation from the president of the borough of Queens in the year 2018. Imam khan also received a recognition of excellence from the Masjid Ash – Shura in the year of 2018.