Mosques are holy places of worship for people who are adherents of the Islamic faith. The word mosque comes from the Arabic word Al-masjid. According to Islamic law, a structure or area which has been consecrated as a mosque will be a mosque forever until judgement day. The first mosques were built in the Arabian Peninsula as places for prayer as today are in many countries around the world. The architecture of traditional mosques usually feature prayer halls, minarets, and domes. The holy man in charge of a mosque is called an imam. A mosque also serves as a place for settling disputes, charitable causes, information, and education.
The Importance of Mosques in the US
The importance of mosques in the United States of America varies by region, and largely depends on the Muslim population in a given state. The first mosque in the US was in Biddeford, Maine, built by Albanian Muslims in 1915. The first purposely built mosque in the US is in Detroit, Michigan, built in 1921. The oldest, still functional, mosque in the US is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa built in 1934, while the oldest standing mosque in the US is in the Bronzeville area of Chicago built in 1922. The largest mosque in the US is the Turkish-American Culture and Civilization Center in Lanham, Maryland. In the West Coast, the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, California, is the largest with 19,000 square feet of floor space. Garden Grove, California has the largest community of Muslim worshipers in the US with about 7,000 faithful.
Ongoing Growth of Mosques In America
Mosques increased in number from about 1,209 in the year 2000 to about 2,106 in the year 2010. This is a 74% increase in a single decade. Most of the mosques in the United States are found along the Eastern Seaboard and Great Lakes. First on the list is California with about 198 mosques in the state and counting. Second is New York with about 131 mosques in the state. Third is Texas with about 58 mosques in the state. Fourth is New Jersey with about 56 mosques. Fifth is Michigan with 55 mosques. Sixth is Pennsylvania with 43 mosques. Seventh is Illinois with 43 mosques. Eighth is Florida with 42 mosques. Ninth is Georgia with 40 mosques. And tenth in the list is Virginia with about 27 mosques in the state and counting.
The Political Role of Mosques in the US
Mosques have grown into places of importance politically at the turn of the century. Muslim leaders and imams have added tolerance and freedom of religion to their Islam sermons in mosques in the US since then. The English-speaking world has seen civic participation in many mosques due to the rise of the Islamic militants all over the world. Many political issues have been raised in sermons to calm the Muslim people. These changes have occurred more often in Muslim minority countries than in Muslim majority countries. To sum things up, the mosques in the US have become places where Muslims can come together more than ever before to learn and follow the precepts of Islam as taught by the prophet Mohammed.
U.S. States With The Most Mosques
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