Skip to comments.Islam growing rapidly in U.S. suburbs
Posted on 05/17/2003 8:36:05 AM PDT by freeperfromnj
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) Just off one of the busiest highways in this rapidly growing suburb sits the new face of Islam in America.
The Islamic Society of Central Jersey's mosque is tucked in amid the pine trees and flowering pink dogwoods along the booming high-tech corridor leading into Princeton. Next door, huge concrete water main pipes lie on the side of the road, ready to be installed as part of a new housing development.
The mosque's expansive parking lots fill up with mini-vans and SUVs, disgorging parents and kids hurrying inside for worship between work and classes.
Scenes like this are playing out across the United States as Muslim communities spread out from the cities to the suburbs. Definitive statistics are hard to come by, but some Muslim leaders and sociologists, backed by anecdotal evidence, say the fastest growth of mosques is occurring in the suburbs. That was also the conclusion of a 2001 nationwide study of mosques by the Council on American Islamic Relations.
"This is more and more where Muslims are living," said Ishan Bagby, a professor at the University of Kentucky who conducted the study.
As was the case with waves of European, Asian and Latino immigrants in past decades, Muslim immigrants settled in the cities. As they established businesses and prospered, they, or more commonly, their children, moved to the suburbs.
"The Muslims are following the exact same pattern," Bagby said.
Out of 800 mosques surveyed, Bagby found that 77 percent of those in suburban locations saw their congregations grow by 10 percent or more from 1999 to 2000, the most recent statistics available, while only 53 percent of urban mosques saw similar growth over that same period. The Council plans a second study in 2005.
The suburban growth is not exclusive to Islam; major Christian and Jewish organizations also are growing in suburban areas as populations expand farther from the urban core. That's what is happening with the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, many of whose members are engineers, researchers or medical professionals who settled in the area in the 1970s and '80s to be close to well-paying jobs along the Route 1 corridor.
Now the $1.2 million mosque has about 500 families as active members, most of them recent immigrant professionals who chose the suburbs over more established Muslim communities in New Jersey like Paterson or Jersey City. Its highly sought-after school has more than 200 students and a long waiting list.
"Not everyone wished to live and educate his kids in Jersey City," said the center's imam, Hamad Ahmad Chebli. "They spread out to different areas. Suburban Muslim families knew each other and put their money together and started local mosques."
This urban-suburban contrast is beginning to draw the attention of religious scholars and academics studying the rapid growth of Islam in America. Professor Sulayman Nyang, chairman of African studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C., noted several principal differences between urban and suburban mosques.
He said the inner-city mosques tend to be predominantly African-American, more inward-looking and focused more intently on addressing neighborhood concerns like poverty, drug abuse and employment, while those in the suburbs are more likely to be populated by immigrant Muslims from the Middle East or south Asia, with a keener interest in world affairs, particularly conditions in their countries of origin.
This was evident in recent visits to two Washington-area mosques, one in inner-city D.C., and the other in suburban northern Virginia. Masjid Muhammad is a community mosque set amid the crowded rowhouses about two miles from the Capitol. Its well-kept exterior is a distinct contrast to the abandoned gas station across the street, where rusting metal storage tanks and dilapidated junker cars sit atop crumbling weed-strewn concrete.
"Like any inner-city church, we are trying to stabilize our community," said Imam Yusuf Saleem. The mosque sponsors a Boy Scout troop, has its own school, runs a 12-step substance abuse recovery program, and recently bought three buildings on a section of Fourth Street known locally as "Islamic Way" to be used as affordable housing for community members.
About 11 miles away in Falls Church, Va., the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque is set among the single-family homes in a quiet neighborhood ablaze in purple azalea bushes and scarlet-and-white magnolia trees. Its members are doctors, dentists, engineers and researchers who settled in the Washington suburbs, but still maintain strong ties to their homelands.
The mosque is solidly middle-class America. Sheikh Muhammed al-Hanouti, the Grand Mufti of Greater Washington, is the mosque's spiritual leader, and is constantly called upon by mosque members to issue fatwas, or religious decrees, on whether certain activities are permitted under Islam.
"Just the other day, I got a call from a man who opened a supermarket who asked `Can I sell pork or lottery tickets?' These are the things of everyday life here." (The answer was no, as pork and gambling are prohibited in Islam.)
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, director of the mosque's outreach program, said the growth of the suburban Muslim population in America was greatly influenced by decisions by the U.S. State Department over the past three decades on who to accept as immigrants.
"They identified raw talent in the information technology industry, and quotas went out the window," he said. "As the Islamic experiment became successful, they wound up moving into the suburbs."
Abdul-Malik said the next logical step for the suburban Muslim community is one that has happened with other waves of immigrants assimilation.
"America has become the crucible for Islam," he said. "The crucible is a container where you put an element, place it in the fire and heat it so that you burn away all but the pure element. The Pakistani and Sudanese and Somali and Afghan parts get burned off and you're left with American Muslims all standing in the same mosque, all praying together."
Oh, I feel all warm and fuzzy now.
No pork or gambling? how about flying commerical aircraft full of innocent civilians into office towers..killing the Jews and Christians where you find them?... (Not know Achmed...wait...be patient...first we must make all the fools believe the lie...that we are the relegion of peace..we must grow strong...so strong that our victory will be sweeping..we must own the institutions and the politicians...we must make "them" the minority.. Then when through the corruption of their own freedoms we will strike...and America will be a muslim nation for the glory of allah and mohhamed...(with a little left over for expenses)
Hmmmm.... and why did the man (who owned a supermarket) ask? Because, he was afraid that his business would be fire bombed by a bunch of Islaminazis.... that's why.
At first when we noticed them under construction we hadn't a clue as to what they were. Then when the minaret went up we knew that another den of satan had been hatched under our very eyes.
Traveling up I-75 across the Ohio River, just north of Cincinnati's outer belt you'll easily spot a large mosque. Before I-75 turns into I-475, just south of Toledo, you'll spot another.
Just a few days ago I said, referring to the movie: Pee Wee's Big Adventure, that if we could check out the basement (without having our head removed by a muslim swinging a scimitar) we wouldn't find Pee Wee's bicycle, but would see a collection of weaponry and explosives much like the Brits saw when they entered a London mosque recently.
Soon it will be too late. They're converting blacks in prisons to their filthy religion and anyone else they can persuade. What evil activities are being directed from these "houses of worship" we can only imagine, but you can be certain that many, if not all, are the nucleus of al Quaida activity.
Our government can suck up to the moslems and say that only a few believe in killing "infidels" but if you read enough about this "religion" you can truly see how sinister it is.
You are doomed.
For some strange reason, Christian congregations are not springing up in any Muslim countries.
Now, why would that be?
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