Ismaili Center
6259 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
1 review

The Ismaili Center of Chicago serves the approximately 5,000 Ismailis who have settled in the Chicago area since the 1970s - mainly from Pakistan, India and east Africa.  

Ismaili Center

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Chicago, IL
  I approached this location on my way home from work today and wanted to learn more about it. I never heard of Ismaili anything before, so I thought to go inside, grab a pamphlet or brochure and leave. A man was opening the door for people who had Indian countenances and (others who happened to have brown skin) inside the building without question, so I presumed it was open to the public. Aren't most American religious centers open to the public? Before being able to enter, a man at the door stops me and asks ... "Excuse me, do you belong here?" "I'm curious about what this place is, I've never gone inside before and was wondering what you all do here. Could you let me in, please? "Well, if you don't belong here then I can't let you in." "Who belongs here?" "Members of the Center." "How does someone become a member?" "If you leave your phone number and name with me, someone will give you a phone-call." "OK, but how does someone become a member?" *silence* "Look, I'm just wondering what you all do here. I live in this neighborhood and was curious about the building and what you do." "This is the Ismaili Center. We have a prayer center and we also act as a community center. If you leave your phone number, we can get in touch with you." "I'm not prepared to do that right now, you've answered my questions. Thank you very much, sir." *** Except, he did not answer my questions. So much for a community center. I was stopped because I had white skin and because I "looked like" I didn't belong. This place is not only racially-biased, but is also completely unaccommodating to people who merely want to learn more about what the Center does, how people become "members" (whatever that means) and what religion uses the center. Not a pleasant experience. Steer clear of this place. Unless you "look like a member" (if you catch my meaning) of course. Then they will let you in without question. I thought Islam was accommodating to people who wanted to learn, participate, or join in their religion. I guess I was wrong.

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