The history of the Islamic Association of Cincinnati (IAC) dates to the late 1960s, when a local Muslim family acquired a house at 2515 Fairview Avenue and converted it to a mosque where prayers and a weekend school were held. Previously, Muslim families in Cincinnati would gather at each other's houses for prayers and holidays, and later at the University of Cincinnati YMCA. The IAC was officially established in 1970. By the 1980s, the community had outgrown the converted house and in 1982 the IAC purchased a larger house at 3668 Clifton Avenue, the site of the current Clifton Mosque.
The community continued to grow and the IAC, in addition to making plans to enlarge the Clifton Mosque, began to make plans in 1992 to build a new facility in West Chester. Local businessman Ahmad Samawi made a significant financial contribution and offered the services of his company, the Mid-American Development Company, to build the center to the designs of Egyptian architect Ramzi Mahallawi. Construction began in early 1994 and in November 1995 the Islamic Center of Great Cincinnati officially opened. It was the first building in Cincinnati purpose-built as a mosque.
The 18-acre ICGC campus includes a masjid, community center, and educational building, as well as a full-time Islamic day school, the El-Sewedy International Academy of Cincinnati.
The masjid is a 14,000 square foot building built in a mix of 8th century Syrian and 12th century Moorish styles. It is topped by a large, low octagonal gold dome with a circumference of 300 feet, with an additional four smaller gold domes in other areas of the mosque. A minaret stands at the eastern corner of the building. The white stone building is one story, with a square-plan prayer hall and an entrance lobby to the west. A large courtyard on the northwest side of the mosque is enclosed by covered arcades.
The entrance atrium is tiled in marble imported from the Middle East, with the same marble used for a fountain in the lobby. A large vaulted skylight runs down the center of the atrium, created by local Ohio studio BeauVerre, who also crafted other stained glass accents throughout the Center. The lobby leads to the prayer hall, where a 28-foot lead crystal and bronze chandelier hangs from the center of the more than 40-foot wide gold dome. The 99 names of Allah are inscribed in calligraphy around the base of the dome, and are also displayed on a tapestry hung in the space. Arched stained glass windows let light into the hall. Women pray in a balcony above the main prayer hall.
The covered arcades that enclose the courtyard extend to the other buildings on the property. The community center, often called the gym hall, has classrooms for the weekend school program and is used for social gatherings and sports and recreation activities. The educational building houses Mirror Hall, an auditorium that accommodates more than 500 people, along with classrooms and conference rooms. In August 2001, the 42,500-square foot El-Sewedy International Academy of Cincinnati school opened on the grounds of the Center.