History of Current Mosque:
Fox Valley Islamic Society (FVIS) was founded in the early 1970s, which was the first community of Muslims in Northeast Wisconsin. It has grown from about ten (10) families to around 100 families today. In recent years, our community has grown as Muslim refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have settled in the region, particularly in the city of Oshkosh. The current mosque, built to serve the needs of the original community of the 1970s, was designed and sized like a modest house—and it has been expanded once to accommodate the growth of our community. It can now host about 100 people for Jumu’ah prayer. On occasion, especially during Ramadan and at special events, attendance exceeds capacity. At these times, men fill the prayer space ordinarily reserved for women, and women must sometimes pray outside the musalla.
The current building is located in a rural area (Town of Neenah). Thus, there is no municipal water and sewer. The building is often overcrowded during Ramadan Iftar and we have always rented outside facilities to host ‘Eid prayers. In addition, as the building continues to age, repair and maintenance concerns increase each year. While our community size has outgrown our facility, Alhamdulillah, we continue to make the best possible use of our building to serve Muslims and non-Muslims in the area.
In addition to offering Salat five times daily and providing for the needs of the community members and the recent influx of our Muslim refugee brothers and sisters, we also host Sunday school; Madrassa on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and monthly community gatherings, during which we occasionally host speakers. FVIS is also deeply involved in the Fox Valley community at large, endearing us to our neighbors and, Alhamdulillah, building strong community connections and a positive reputation for Muslims among our neighbors. For example, FVIS is an active member of ESTHER, a respected local interfaith social justice nonprofit. Also, for nearly twenty years, FVIS has organized the largest annual interfaith gathering of the Fox Cities. Our annual, not-to-be-missed event has come to be called “Under the Tent,” since we host it in a large, rented tent—as participation exceeds the capacity of our current mosque by hundreds of people. Our community is well known in the area. We are appreciated as “good neighbors,” and we intend to do more to serve our brothers and sisters, as well as our neighbors. We believe that a new mosque will be instrumental toward our goal.
The long-term plan is to construct a mosque that can host all of our functions, an Islamic charter school, and a dedicated space to host youth meetings and activities inshallah. Toward that goal, our initial objective is to complete a first-phase construction, building the basic mosque structure, providing a better, larger prayer space and enabling FVIS to stop paying property taxes on the land.
For this phase of our mosque project, we have capped our budget at $1.7 million (reduced from $3.5 million as initially estimated). The design plan is simple: a basement and a prayer area with a capacity of 360-person men’s and 150-person’s women’s prayer spaces, as well as a children’s area and office. Eventually, we plan to finish out the basement and the mezzanine prayer area for the sisters in phases inshallah.
We are appealing to you to help us realize this project for Allah’s sake. The Holy Prophet Mohammed, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, reminded us Muslims on the virtue of sharing in the building of a mosque: Ye people, praise Allah. Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, Allah, The Exalted, shall build a house for such a one in paradise. To Allah, the most adored places are the mosques and the most undesirable places are market places. Mosques are the houses of Allah and those believers who enter therein are the guests of Allah. Those who visit the mosques in darkness convey to them the good news that Allah shall bestow upon them from Himself perfect light on the Day of Judgment.