Sunday, February 12, 2017


Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities

The sun seemed to shine extra bright on Saturday afternoon 
as a dozen or more Walla Wallans traveled to West Richland, about 45 west of Walla Walla,
 to join an overflow crowd to celebrate diversity and unity at the Islamic Center of Tri-Cities. 
Men, women and children gathered to listen to a variety of speakers of different faiths 
express similar messages of peace, love, and community. 

Imam Mohamed ElSehmawy greeted the hundreds of guests crowded into the center 
with the standard Muslim salutation--as-salamu alaykum, or "peace be upon you." 
The response was an enthusiastic wa-alaykumu s-salam, "and upon you peace."

"I am a proud American. I am also a proud immigrant," the Venezuelan native said, her voice breaking.
Applause filled the room. "I am also a proud Latina. I am also a proud woman of color.
I am also a proud Muslim. I guess you could say
I am the prototype of everything that has become fashionable to hate.

Among the long list of speakers, these two women represented not just the diversity of their own ethnic and cultural backgrounds 
but more importantly the commonality of purpose which was the focus of the event -- 
it is the things we share in common as human beings that unite us.

The Islamic Center was established in 1979 by the tiny Islamic community that existed at the time in the Tri-Cities. 
Currently, hundreds of Muslim families live in the greater Tri-Cities, 
with the ICTC supporting the ever increasing Muslim population of the area.

The present mosque facility was built in 1996 and features a prayer hall, classrooms, library, and a general purpose hall. 
The ICTC conducts congregational Friday prayers, a weekly Sunday school, community service events, 
as well as a variety of on-going social and religious community activities.

For more information about the Islamic Center, click here.


  1. Islamic decor, with the emphasis on geometric shapes, interests me, particularly in that area behind the podium. I've never been in a mosque here, though the main mosque in the city regularly participates in our Doors Open program.

    1. I did not know what to expect having been in many mosques in Istanbul, Turkey and several cities throughout Morocco. From the outside, the only obvious sign that this is a mosque is the minaret on top. Same thing inside. Other than the area you describe, the large photos of Mecca behind the visitors, and the Arabic writing around the walls, this looked like any generic meeting hall. Like you, I love the mosaic tile decorations of the traditional mosques which obviously cost a lot to make.


I enjoy reading your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment.