Mosques in America

My friends America is a different place. As I was scanning through Twitter the other day I discovered an alarming booklet.  My discovery was of The American Mosque 2011 Report by Ihsan Bagby.  The book discussed the latest trends of Islam and Mosque development from 2000 to 2010.  Needless to say, I was shocked by the results I found.   Afterall, Islam is something that takes place “over there”, right?  I mean, Islam is predominantly found in the Middle East, right?  Not anymore!  It is vital that we understand the upswing in support and even sympathy with regards to Islam.  My friends, The American Mosque Report should be an “eye-raising” study for you if you take the time to read the report.

The American Mosque 2011 report highlighted the 2,106 Muslim congregations and 2,600,082 Muslim adherents which were found in 592 counties across the United States.  The total number of Mosques across the US increased 74% over the past 10 years from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.

 Note some of Ihsan Bagby’s findings:

• Muslims who attend Eid Prayer (the high holiday prayers after Ramadan and Hajj) increased from about 2 million in 2000 to about 2.6 million in 2011. The total Muslim population cannot be determined by this figure, but it does call into question the low estimates of 1.1-2.4 million Muslims in America. If there are 2.6 million Muslims who pray the Eid prayer, then the total Muslim population should be closer to the estimates of up to 7 million.

• The American mosque is a remarkably young institution: over three-fourths (76%) of all existing mosques were established since 1980.

• The vast majority of mosques are located in metropolitan areas but the percentage of mosques in urban areas is decreasing and the percentage of mosques in suburban areas is increasing: in 2000 16% of mosques were located in suburbs and in 2011 28% of mosques are now located in suburbs.

• Mosques remain an extremely diverse institution. Only 3% of mosques have only one ethnic group that attends that mosque. South Asians, Arabs, and African Americans remain the dominant groups but significant numbers of newer immigrants have arrived, including Somalis, West Africans and Iraqis.

• Shi’ite mosques are also expanding in numbers, especially since the 1990s. Over 44% of all Shi’ite mosques were established in the decade of the 1990s.

• The majority of mosque leaders (56%) adopt the more flexible approach of looking to interpretations of Quran and Sunnah (the normative practice of Prophet Muhammad) that take into account the overall purposes of Islamic Law and modern circumstances. Only 11% of mosque leaders prefer the more traditional approach of the classical legal schools of thought—madhhabs. A little over 1% of all mosque leaders follow the salafi way.

• Mosque leaders endorse Muslim involvement in American society. Over 98% of mosque leaders agree that Muslims should be involved in American institutions; and 91% agree that Muslims should be involved in politics.

• The vast majority of mosque leaders do not feel that overall American society is hostile to Islam. Only 25% of mosque leaders in 2011 believe that American society is hostile to Islam. In 2000 the majority of mosque leaders (54%) agreed that American society is hostile to Islam.


Finally, I have been to Israel, South Asia and Africa where I have heard the Islamic call to prayer five times a day!  The prayer rings throughout the city streets and gives the adherents a reminder of prayer.  However, I never thought it would be a reality in the United States.  As followers of Christ we must love those of other faiths but be quick to share Christ’s redeeming power.