Islamic Center connects with community in varied ways

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious entities working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Mahak Rajwani

Waco has many places of worship, and the Islamic Center of Waco holds a special story. The Center was established in 1987 and is still led by Afzal Siddiq.

Islamic Center of Waco President Afzal Siddiq and his son, Asim

Siddiq dedicates an immense amount of time and effort serving as president of the center, as well as pursuing other professional endeavors.

“Our community is 100% unique and is very welcoming of diversity,” Siddiq said. “I want to encourage the idea of learning about other cultures and creators.” 

As different as varied religions may seem, Siddiq said they often intertwine and are based off of each other. Christianity and Islam are actually very similar at their core, he said, and it adds to a sense of unity within the communities.

The Islamic Center hosts a dinner for church leaders in Waco during Ramadan to promote good relations. This speaks volumes about their character because of the effort they’re willing to dedicate to supporting the local community and what they stand for.

Community involvement is visibly important to them, and they put time and effort into serving people in a multitude of ways.

“We like to work with Habitat for Humanity consistently, and I have become a board member for that, as well. We are also closely associated with the Waco Interfaith Conference,” Siddiq said.

Islamic Center leadership consists of the president and about five or six board members, but it’s an open environment where members can provide input or feedback at any time. There is no general hierarchy within the Islamic Center.

“I’ve seen this place grow over the years. People come and go, but the values remain the same,” Siddiq said.

In the Islamic faith it is integral to pray five times a day, and on Fridays they have special ceremonies for what is known as “Jumma.” The mosque is open throughout the day for any members who choose to use it for daily prayers.

Afzal Siddiq, his wife, and their two sons all like to be involved and as a whole are all very committed to the center. 

“My wife generally cooks food for the community on Fridays. She likes to contribute in her own way,” Siddiq said.

The Islamic Center of Waco demonstrates what it means to embody love for one’s faith, community, and the world around them. “I want to express how important it is for me that we are good representatives of the Islamic faith,” Siddiq said.

Mahak Rajwani is a student at Baylor University who is originally from California. She is a second-year business major concentrating in professional sales and marketing, with a minor in public relations journalism. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].