Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Building Muslim Community in the United States


Geography & Planning


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Muslim places of prayer were dated and mapped in order to spatially and temporally understand the process of community building in the United States. Two types of consecrated places were studied. Data on the establishment of Muslim places of prayer were gathered from a variety of sources. Results suggest that the development of Muslim community is a step-wise process in space and time in which individuals or a small group of practitioners (often international students or professional people who have immigrated to the U.S.) establish a place of communal prayer in an urban place. This first place of prayer is often in a basement, an apartment, or shared facilities with a church. Over time, a numerically larger and more geographically dispersed community emerges that may involve two or three adjacent urban places, each one with its local place of prayer. Ultimately, an organized, hierarchy of places of worship emerges over a much wider geographic area. At the apex of the hierarchy of worship is a large, new, purpose-built Islamic Center, which contains a large prayer hall with adjoining washing facilities, a social hall, school(s), etc., that conveys a sense of unity, focus, and community.

Conference Name

Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters

Conference Location

Alma, Michigan

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