The Dawoodi Bohra community sprouted in the greater Houston area in the 1950s. A few decades later, the community’s growth facilitated the construction of a masjid near the Katy Area, which was inaugurated in 2001 by the late Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (R.A.). The visit occurred during the days of Ashara Mubaraka – held sacred for the memorialization of the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imaam Hussain ibn Ali.
Further population growth necessitated and enabled the construction of a larger complex to accommodate the community’s religious and recreational activities. Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (T.U.S.)’s Houston visit in 2014 – again during the auspicious Ashara Mubaraka – marked the inauguration of the new Mohammedi masjid complex, which became the largest Dawoodi Bohra place of worship in North America. There, His Holiness’ local followers, known collectively as Anjuman-e-Shujaee, congregate to reflect on the teachings of Islam and perform routine acts of community service.
Members of the Anjuman, or community, have left no part of Houston’s landscape untouched by their professional skills and charismatic spirit. Doctors and nurses campaign to reach under-served neighborhoods, lawyers offer their pro-bono services to non-profit organizations and vulnerable citizens, while high school and college students block walk with their preferred candidates for election. The community’s engineering cohort in the energy, aerospace and software industries also grows daily.
Houston’s Bohra business community is vast, reflecting the foundational spirit of entrepreneurship nurtured by His Holiness. Structural support of start-ups and small businesses enables easy access to seasoned mentors to navigate established and emerging markets, which builds the efficacy of an interest-free loan program that enhances business plan financial viability. The Anjuman also makes similar loans available to prospective homeowners – boosting the community’s home ownership rate and investment in neighborhoods.
Food responsibility initiatives taken by the global Dawoodi Bohra community and Anjuman-e-Shujaee in particular have been recognized widely. During a visit to the masjid in June 2019, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner highlighted the local community’s use of RSVP applications to enhance meal planning for scheduled events and lauded the masjid’s proactive provisions of nutritional support in periods of crisis. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the masjid compex’s industrial kitchen supplied 20,000 meals to Houstonians seeking refuge at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
“I applaud the leadership and responsiveness of this community. Your generosity truly reflects the spirit of Houston as does your candid spirit reflect the spirit of Texas,” Mayor Turner said. Following Mayor Turner’s lead, Dawoodi Bohras will continue to participate in elections and contribute to Houston’s diverse business and art scene while espousing the open-hearted charity and hospitality enshrined in the spirit of Texas.