Introduction

Established in 1991, the Islamic Circle of Japan was a response to the growing need for a supportive Muslim community in Japan. The organization initially focused on educating its growing membership about Islam, the goal being to adhere to Islamic values amongst a religiously diverse community. In the early 90s, ICOJ members, the majority of whom were of South Asian descent, focused their efforts on education and personal/spiritual development. In November of 1992,members met and discussed the need for Islamic work based in Japan. After drafting and adopting a new detailed constitution, the organization formally became known as the Islamic Circle of Japan (ICOJ). With a new name and new direction, members of ICOJ were determined to become an inclusive, diverse organization. ICOJ’s work towards establishing a place for Islam in Japan began. With a central location from which to base its efforts, ICOJ was able to launch numerous projects, many of which still thrive today. Along with the national convention, clusters of ICOJ chapters across Japan hosted annual regional conferences; Neighbor Nets were formed for members of local chapters to meet on a consistent basis. 1993 marked a milestone in ICOJ’s history, as it’s Charter and By-Laws were approved and adopted. ICOJ has worked to establish connections between Islam and the public, collaborating with numerous Muslim organizations to reach this end. ICOJ also works closely with many national interfaith organizations for the betterment of society. By focusing on self-development, education, outreach and social services, ICOJ has cemented its place as a leading grassroots organization in the Japanese Muslim community.