Established in 1968, the Islamic Circle of North America was a response to the growing need for a supportive Muslim community in North America. The organization initially focused on educating its growing membership about Islam, the goal being to adhere to Islamic values amongst a religiously diverse community. In the early 70s, ICNA members, the majority of whom were of South Asian descent, focused their efforts on education and personal/spiritual development.
In November of 1977, nearly a decade after its formation, ICNA members met and discussed the need for Islamic work based in North America. After drafting and adopting a new detailed constitution, the organization formally became known as the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). With a new name and new direction, members of ICNA were determined to become an inclusive, diverse organization, and adopted English as their official language. ICNA’s work towards establishing a place for Islam in America began.
With the 80s came several key expansion projects—ICNA Sisters’ Wing was formed in 1980, ICNA’s main headquarters established in Jamaica, Queens in 1984 and the annual convention celebrated its 10th year in 1985. With a central location from which to base its efforts, ICNA was able to launch numerous projects, many of which still thrive today. ICNA Relief, 877-Why Islam, Young Muslims, the National Shura Council, the Message International, Muslim Alert Network, Muslim Savings and Investments (MSI) and more branches were formed throughout the following years to cater to the needs of the American Muslim community. Along with the national convention, clusters of ICNA chapters across North America hosted annual regional conferences; Neighbor Nets were formed for members of local chapters to meet on a consistent basis. 1993 marked a milestone in ICNA’s history, as it’s Charter and By-Laws were approved and adopted.
In the past decade, ICNA has expanded its reach across the US while maintaining an active presence in local communities. Muslim Family Day, first hosted at Six Flags New Jersey in the year 2000, now attracts nearly 50,000 a year at several parks nationwide. The ICNA Council for Social Justice, a branch of ICNA dedicated to representing the Muslim voice on matters of social justice was formed in 2009. ICNA has worked to establish connections between Islam and the public, collaborating with numerous Muslim organizations to reach this end. ICNA also works closely with many national interfaith organizations for the betterment of society. By focusing on self-development, education, outreach and social services, ICNA has cemented its place as a leading grassroots organization in the American Muslim community.