ISWA Surpasses Funding Goal, Aims to Make Masjid Eco-Friendly

Community News




The area is set to see its first masjid with an environmentally friendly parking lot. The Islamic Society of Washington Area in Silver Springs has been a pioneer for 40 years, building the masjid with their own hands, minimizing construction expenditure and now they are embarking on another project that will hit the ball out of the park, well at least the parking lot.

The masjid struggles with parking, according to past President Dr. Fazil Alie, as it serves an ever-growing congregation. The extension will add 115 parking spaces to the lot, and a walkway to the masjid. The lot will extend to the tree line, midway into the property where the preserved area starts.

As previously reported in the Muslim Link, the Paint Branch Creek of the Anacostia River is a delicate watershed that leads to the Chesapeake Bay. A unique cold-water community lives in this sub watershed, where the water temperatures are cool enough for adult brown trout to thrive. The ISWA property sits near the banks of this creek.

Storm water runoffs from area parking lots and developments have damaged the eco-system of the creek. Uncontrolled storm water runoff from many communities degraded local water quality. The runoff also eroded stream channels, making the streams shallower and raising water temperatures, which is detrimental to wildlife.

Pervious concrete —the technology Islamic Society of Washington Area will use in masjid parking lot —allows water to drain straight through into a reservoir below the pavement where it can subsequently soak into the ground. Most concrete and asphalt does not allow rainwater to penetrate the ground; instead the water runs off and pollutes waterways.

In keeping with its commitment to transparency, the masjid invited the consultants to give a presentation at a fundraiser held in the ISWA multipurpose hall—Maser Consultants of Sterling, VA who designed the famed John Hopkins parking lot.

Concrete is an aggregate material say experts. It is composed of rocks or gravel, well-mixed cement and water. Permeable concrete has no fine particles; this creates voids in the mix allowing water to seep through. “It is not smooth and pretty like regular concrete,” informed the consultant.

The material will allow the rainwater to refill groundwater. An added bonus is that the material retains heat so in the winter snow will melt, significantly reducing the need for plowing the lot, according to the consultant working on the project.  The design will eliminate the need for storm drains, saving the masjid money immediately and in long term maintenance.

“We have to save the one trout that is left in that creek,” joked Zamal Housein the President of ISWA. On a more serious note he reiterated the Quranic message of being responsible advocates on Allah’s Earth. “We are a God fearing people,” said Imam Faizul Khan.

The lightening used the parking lot will also be eco-friendly, using low amount of electricity, tying into the current system.

Suggestions and questions were taken from the audience. A suggestion of making a separate ingress and egress point on Brigg Chaney Road was brought up. The consultants thought that this might be a good option to look into. The current plan has one point of entry, with the traffic moving in a circular pattern. Several handicapped spots will be available.

If all goes well the project is expected to complete by the end of the year, depending on the weather.

Yousuf Slitine, keynoting the event, extolled the virtues of giving with poignant stories. He prayed for the architect, the successful completion of the project and expressed his gratitude to the consulting company.

Approximately $70,000 was raised in a well-executed fundraiser; the goal was $60,000.

A silent auction of items donated by the community took place in the mezzanine, where dinner was served to the diverse attendees.

Imam Faizul Khan thanked the packed room and reminded them of the immense ground covered since ISWA was conceived in 1973.

If you would like to learn more about this project or donate to ISWA please visit