In Glen Ellyn, there is a small mosque tucked away in the trees along Route 53. The multi-level white stone construction is very pretty. It has a metallic dome at the top that always catches my eye. Since it’s Ramadan, I decided to get a proper look at it yesterday on my post-work ride.
The name of the mosque is Masjid Bait-ul-Jaamay, which according to Google, translates as Mosque Temple something. Not very helpful. 😀 It wasn’t able to translate the ul-Jaamay part. If I were to guess, “ul” probably means “of”. Perhaps “Jaamay” is a name or a place? In any case, this mosque was built by members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
I was hoping to find a little more information about the building itself—construction materials, timeline, and so forth—but so far I haven’t been able to uncover much. I do know that it’s a fairly recent construction. Here’s a Google street view map, which has a nice photo of the road-facing part of the building:
I did learn quite about about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, however. According to their website, it’s a newer branch of Islam originally founded in 1889 and officially established in the U.S. in 1921. The organization has built over 15,000 mosques, 500 schools, and 30 hospitals throughout the world. I’m not familiar enough with the more traditional branch of Islam to know the details of how it differs, but I find this statement on their website to be notable:
“…The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organization to endorse a separation of mosque and state. […] Today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to be an advocate for universal human rights and protections for religious and other minorities. It champions the empowerment and education of women.”
There are a few others mosques in the area that I have seen in passing, and probably many more that I simply haven’t noticed. One is located along I-88 and its architecture is just stunning to look at from a distance. I’d like to see that one up close one of these days. I’ll have to figure out a route there that doesn’t involve the interstate, however. :p Another one is located in Streamwood, IL, which is a bit further out. As you can see from the photo gallery on its website, it features a lot of intricate mosaic work on the exterior. I will get to those some day. Hopefully, I’ll have my camera with me, too.
I’m constantly surprised at all the places and things I accidentally discover when I’m out aimlessly riding around. At least once on every ride I find myself saying, “I never knew this was here!” I’m also grateful that the area I live in is so diverse. I don’t have to venture very far from home to experience a different world filled with interesting sites and people–and, of course, all that delicious food. Exploring with your stomach can also be quite satisfying. 😀