For the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR) some things have changed and some have stayed the same. The center went from a storefront, where it began, to a nearly 30,000 square foot mosque. That was a huge change. It has also lost a number of imams along the way, a couple of whom have been charged with crimes. Many of the faces still remain, though, and so does the hate that was exhibited when the center was established over 15 years ago.
ICBR started as a result of an effort by the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and FAU Professor Bassem Alhalabi, who helped create the MSO. The founding directors of the center included three persons: Alhalabi, travel agency owner Khalid Qureshi, and then-FAU student Syed Ahmad, who was also a website designer for Hamas in Gaza.
Alhalabi, prior to getting his job at FAU, was an assistant to Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, while they were together at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa.