For many years the Muslim community in America had been a small minority but today it is one of the fastest growing religions in the country. Muslims first came to America in the 1860′s from Syria and Lebanon. Today it is estimated that there are between 6 to 7 million Muslims in America, roughly 2% of the entire population. (Image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dearborn_Mosque)
First Mosque in America
The first official mosque was built in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1934. Today, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) based in Washington DC, there are more than 1,209 known mosques throughout America. The majority of mosques were established since the 1980′s with a 25% increase in the number of mosques in the past 8 years. In addition to these there are hundreds of Islamic cultural centres and schools.
There are large communities of Muslims in almost every large city. Ethnically diverse, the largest community of Muslims come from South Asia (33%) followed by African-Americans (30%). Arab Muslims make up 25% of the Muslim population. While Islam is rapidly growing in every ethnic class, the highest number of Muslim converts are from the African-American community (64%). The second highest number of converts are white Americans (27%).
Muslim Visibility in America
One of the most active recruiting grounds for Islam in the USA is in university campuses where many groups have well funded and organised student programs. Key organisations such as CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Students Association of USA, provide religious training, education, and support to Muslim communities and campuses throughout the country.
Since the events of 11 September 2001 and the attacks in New York and Washington, the Muslim community has become increasingly visible. The Arab-American community of Brooklyn, New York, held a candlelight march near the World Trade Centre site. Soon after, Muslim leaders attended a formal gathering in the White House in Washington for the first time in history. There have also been increased attacks against America’s Muslims with thousands of incidences of threats, vandalism and violence reported. Civil rights activists believe that Muslims are now more vulnerable and suffer from religious prejudice. Many American Muslims want to remove the misunderstanding and suspicion that surrounds Islam. They are trying hard to convince to others that from their perspective at least there is no place in Islam for those who resort to violent acts of terrorism.
Pray for the Muslims in the USA:
* Pray that the Church in America would awaken to the challenge of interceding and reaching out to American Muslims.
* Pray for Muslims in universities to grow in spiritual hunger to know God personally and to call out to Him through Jesus.
* Pray for those Muslims whose lives have been effected by the terrorist attacks of 11 September, that they would know God through the witness of true Christians.
* Pray for the conversion of the leaders of Muslim organisations and mosques.