It is not clear when Muslims first started entering the United States, but many historians believe that the earliest Muslims came from the Senegambia region of Africa in the early 14th century. But there are also those who claim that Christopher Columbus used a book written by Portuguese Muslims who had traveled to the new world in the 12th century to guide him on his journey.
While no one knows how true the story is, Historians know that the first wave of American Muslims came from African slaves who believed that 10-15% of African slaves were Muslim.
So the First Mosque in the US was founded by Muslims who mostly came from Syria and Lebanon who immigrated to America around 1878 to 1924. The oldest mosque in America has been used continuously and still stands strong even when Islamophobia is increasing in the west, especially in the United States.
Here are 7 of the oldest mosques in the United States that still stand firm today.
7. Muslim Community Center Chicago
In 1969, a group of Muslims from various backgrounds decided to establish a Muslim Community Center (MCC) in Chicago. Chicago Muslim Community Center is not the first mosque in the US but it is one of the parent organizations of many other American Muslim groups and mosques.
In the last few decades, the Muslim Community Center has grown. Today it has two additional mosques and two schools or educational centers. The NCC has also offered many different programs for Muslims and non-Muslims in the Chicagoland region such as gambling, health screening and counseling programs.
6. Islamic Center of Washington
The Islamic Center of Washington opened in 1952 by having its official dedication ceremony in 1957. The idea to build this mosque began in 1944 after Mr. M. Abu Al Hawa and former Egyptian Ambassador, Mr. Mahmood Hassan Pasha chatted about building a mosque in Washington DC. After that, a group of American diplomats and Muslims formed the Washington Mosque Foundation to raise funds for the construction of the mosque.
The land was later purchased in 1946 with the laying of the first stone of mosque construction carried out in 1949. The Islamic Center of Washington was designed by Italian architect Mario Rossi, who is known to have built mosques in Egypt.
The then President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, attended the dedication ceremony for the mosque and spoke about the beauty of Islam and religious freedom in the United States.
5. Islamic Center of Southern California
The Islamic Center of Southern California is one of the oldest mosques in the United States that was founded in 1952 by a group of Muslim men who only wanted to gather and pray. According to one of the founders of the Islamic Center of Southern California mosque, Abed Awad, the group leased a small building in Hollywood and called themselves the American Muslim Association in Los Angeles.
Around 1966, as the community grew, the Islamic Center's Board of Directors approved regulations, organized Islamic libraries, bought duplicate spirits, started bulletins and managed answering services. They also changed their name to the Islamic Foundation of Southern California.
The mosque foundation then moved the mosque to its current location in 1976 and continues to host regular services and operate the New Horizon School (preschool) to this day.
4. American Fazl Moeslem
The American Fazl Mosque in Washington DC, was established as the Headquarters of the American Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1950. The building which was originally built in the 20th century was chosen by Khalil Nasir, the national leader of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam.
The American Fazl Mosque had been the headquarters of Ahamdiyah until 1994 when it was later moved to the Bait ur-Rahman Mosque in Silver Springm, Maryland. Until now the mosque is still open for services and other events. In addition there is also a guesthouse for visitors at the American Fazl Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the United States.
3. American Moeslim Society Mosque
Founded in 1938 in Dearborn, Michigan, the American Moeslim Society Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the United States that still stands today. At first the mosque was started in a small house then grew into a Muslim Community in the city of Michigan. Over the years the mosque has experienced a lot of expansion and is currently located in a large building covering 48,000 square feet.
In the early 1980s, this mosque used loudspeakers because some communities had grown up in the region and this was the first mosque in the US to use loudspeakers to send prayers. According to the American Moeslim Society website, there are currently plans to enlarge the mosque once more.
2. Mother Mosque of America
After the Al-Sadiq Mosque building, the American Mother Mosque was the first building to be designed and built into a mosque. The mosque was originally called the Muslim Temple which was completed on February 15, 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Although the American Mother Mosque is still in operation today, the building was once hit by a massive flood in 2008 which caused the basement to be flooded with the Koran and the oldest community tapestry destroyed. These objects have been carried by the ancestors of the Cedar Rapids Muslim community who came from the Ottoman Empire. Fortunately the main floor of the American Mother Mosque was not touched by the floods and still stands majestically until now.
1. Masjid Al-Sadiq
Al-Sadiq Mosque in Chicago is currently believed to be the oldest mosque in the United States . This mosque is managed by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community which is the oldest Muslim community in the US.
One of the first Muslim missionaries sent to the United States was Mufti Muhammad Sadiq who founded the headquarters of the national movement and the first mosque in the United States known as the Al-Sadiq Mosque around the early 1920s.
At present the mosque managed by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community still operates with Imam Azam Akram believed to be the Missionary and Imam of the Mosque.
Now that's the 7 oldest mosques in the United States that still stand firm to this day. Hopefully it can broaden our horizons.