The Ismaili Center is a religious organization of about 200 Shi'ite Aga Khani Ismailis which meets in the former Lakeshore Memorial Chapel at 131 Oxmoor Court in Homewood. The group follows the spiritual leadership of Prince Karim al-Hussayni Aga Khan IV, a Shiite who emphasizes economic empowerment, charity and women's rights.
The group met in rented space at 3950 Lorna Road in Hoover from 1999 to 2009. In 2007 the Center planned to build a 11,500-square-foot jamatkhana (prayer hall) on a wooded 4.7-acre site at Sulphur Springs and Al Seier Roads. Their rezoning request was postponed twice before it was rejected by the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission at its August 13, 2007 meeting. Before the meeting hundreds of opponents of the center packed a public hearing and presented a 519-signature petition asking the Commission to deny the rezoning request. The opposition was framed as a traffic issue, but was widely believed to have been fueled by mistrust or fear of the Muslim group.
In April 2009 the center opened a new jamatkhana in the former chapel. The interior of the Greek Revival-style building was renovated with traditional Islamic-style mosaics and furnishings supporting its use for Muslim prayers.
- Cason, Mike (June 11, 2007) "Muslim worship center planned for Hoover site." The Birmingham News
- Cason, Mike (June 26, 2007) "Crown opposed Hoover Muslim center plan." The Birmingham News
- Archibald, John (August 3, 2007) "Muslims see fear, distrust in Hoover." The Birmingham News
- Cason, Mike (August 14, 2007) "Muslim center request denied." The Birmingham News
- Garrison, Greg (April 26, 2009) "Ismailis to open a prayer center in Birmingham, Alabama." The Birmingham News