The KSIMC of Birmingham is a religious organisation set-up by the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Community. Most Khoja’s originally come from the states of Gujarat and Kutch in India. During the turn of the 20th century a group of Khoja’s migrated from India to Africa to identify business opportunities, and made Africa their home. From the 1950’s and onwards, other groups of members from this community began migrating to the West for education purposes and to seek salvation from conflict and instability, as in the case of the Ugandan exodus in 1972.
Birmingham was one of the places the Khoja community chose to settle in, with the first group arriving in 1968. The initial settling period was difficult, as people had been uprooted from their homes, some in an unjust manner, and in that time of need, the importance of community and family really shone through. In the absence of a mosque or social centre, this first group started conducting majalis (religious gatherings) at each other’s houses.
By 1973, the population of Khoja’s in Birmingham had grown considerably, making individual houses no longer big enough to accommodate this rapid growth. At that time, a house on Chesterton Road was rented to serve as a centre. This was the first real community centre in Birmingham which was used for about two years. The growth of this community did not stop, however, increasing exponentially through the years that in 1975, a property was purchased on Forest Road. This detached house was used such that the upstairs were for ladies’ gatherings and the downstairs for gents’ gatherings. A madrasah was also set up on Sundays and weekdays to ensure the teachings of Islam, the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his Ahlul-Bayt (AS) was passed onto the future generations.
This community has always kept economic progress at the front of their mind, and ensured a continued investment in their community’s education in-order to obtain a better quality of life. It was in 1977 that the search began for the ideal piece of land to construct a multi-purpose centre with the hopes of meeting the needs of our growing community; whether it is nurturing our fledglings in Madrassah; navigating our youth through career seminars; hosting majalis to further the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt; keeping us fit through sport; sharing in our days of great happiness like marriages and births or consoling us in our darkest hours when we lose love ones. This saw the commencement of construction work at the current Clifton Road site in 1980. The Imambargah was officially opened in 1981 and thereafter, the Masjid in 1982. Within five years the centre was extended to open a Nursery for toddlers and younger children. In October 1996, work began on the Sayyeda Zainab Building, which is currently adjacent to the mosque, opened in 1998 and used for the Saturday and Sunday Madaris, and secular tuition classes under the name of ME School of Excellence.
The KSIMC of Birmingham has grown at an incredible rate because of the reasonable cost of living and the numerous varieties of job opportunities that are available in and around the West Midlands region. Every year, approximately 30 students from Khoja communities across the world, most notably from African countries, move to Birmingham to study at Aston University, Birmingham University and Warwick University, amongst many other well reputed colleges in the region. Upon completion of their studies, many students tend to stay on and build a new life for themselves in Birmingham. In addition, we are also blessed to host visitors from our wider Shia community, namely from the Iraqi, Afghani, Iranian and Pakistanis origins, who enjoy our bilingual functions and frequently visit our centre.
The Abbasi Islamic Centre Project aims to build a centre to accommodate the ever-growing community, providing facilities to allow its members to flourish in all capacities, and in unity with one another and the wider multi-faith society.
The Abbasi Islamic Centre Project presents us all with a massive opportunity to take the Community forward with the aims of becoming a centre that:
“Creating a Spiritual and Vibrant Community, based on the Values and Practices of the Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Faith; by developing the potential of its members, engaging with the wider society, being held accountable to itself and its members and serving the needs of humanity worldwide.”
The Abbasi Islamic Centre Project aims to build a centre to accommodate the ever-growing community; providing facilities to allow its members to flourish in all capacities, and in unity with one another and the wider multi-faith society. In light of our Mission, we will be embarking on the following:
Below is our project video that showcases this in more detail.
The majority project is being built at our current site on 17 Clifton Road. In addition, the multipurpose hall is being built on the site of a property which is currently on rent to a tenant.
We had a community referendum in March 2013 where detailed information was presented to our members in relation to the pros and cons of staying at Clifton Road versus moving. The community voted by a margin of 70% to 30% in favour of staying at the current site on Clifton Road.
We have followed a mixture of best practice from The World Federation of KSIMC and RIBA (Royal Institute Of British Architects).
In the case of The World Federation, we have followed the Capital Projects Process as approved at the 2006 WF Conference. This involved an extensive needs analysis and project planning exercise that has ensured that our project is financially viable and suitable for the needs of the Community.