Islam in USA – American Mosques

Courtesy U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Information Programs

More than 1,200 mosques and Islamic centers have existed in this country, according to a survey conducted in the latter part of the 1990s, but fewer than 100 were actually designed as mosques. The survey revealed that most Islamic congregations in the United States began in buildings that had been constructed for other purposes – fire stations, theaters, warehouses, and shops.

The situation changed, however, after 1965 when the first large-scale influx of Muslims from various countries came to the United States. Mosques then began to be built for the sole purpose of ministering to the Muslim community as houses of worship and community centers. The great variety of religious diversity and ethnicity among American Muslims today is reflected in the variety of building design and organization.

The photographer and chronicler of mosque architecture, Dr. Omar Khalidi, a senior research scholar at the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, explains the three types of mosque architecture that now flourish in the United States.

“First, there are mosques that embody a traditional design transplanted from one – or several – Islamic lands,” Dr. Khalidi points out. “Second, there are those that represent a reinterpretation of tradition, sometimes combined with elements of American architecture. Third are the designs that are entirely innovative, like those of the Islamic Society of North America’s headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana.”

Most of the mosques in all three categories also function as classrooms, libraries, conference centers, bookshops, kitchens, and social halls, even as residential apartments.

Another important consideration in mosque architecture is the space for women to worship. In America, women generally are an integral part of mosque activities and play a very active role in the Muslim community. In a typical American Muslim family, the entire family turns out for worship, necessitating separate space for women, usually at a mezzanine level.

In manyinstances, mosque architecture in North America reflects the prevailing building designs of the area. “Over time a standard design will evolve which will be a happy blend between nostalgia and innovation,” Dr. Khalidi predicts. “The new emerging mosques in the West are a far cry from just domes and minarets.”


Downtown New York City (© Wolfgang Hoyt/Esto/Architect Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill)


In Tempe, Arizona, a more traditional mosque with dome and minaret.


Islamic Cultural Center of Washington, D.C

Taken from the the site that is produced and maintained by the U.S. Dept. of State’s Office of International Information Programs (usinfo.state.gov)

11 Comments

  1. I wish I had a roommate as a muslim so we pray together and worship.

  2. However different the architectures are, the main function of those mosques, I suppose, are similar in the sense that it is a place to worship God the Almighty and to cater brotherhood among Muslims of different background. In other word, it is a place to fertilize 'hablun minalloh and hablun minannas.

  3. Hanafi Arief says:

    The other function of the mosque is also to strenghten the man power of moslems. It is what shohabah did after the death of Muhammad SAW.

  4. Ernie Lucas says:

    Masjid is for Allah alone and we should not place any name beside Allah. It is Haram add any name with our worship to Allah.

  5. I do respect freedom of speech. ..but I respect seeking knowledge just to reach the truth before you judge any thing you should read it by your self in the purpose of finding the truth

  6. Brian Adam says:

    Islam The way of life
    true peace way for humanity
    can bring the peace in the world
    http://teespring.com/moslemUSA

  7. - I don't think you (DANIEL BARBOUR) red the HOLLY QUR'AN, One verse in QUR'AN says if you kill one incant soul it like you kill all humanity, u will not find such strong verse in the complete bible ( Old & New test…..).
    - If you red the history u will find Christianity in the most bloody religion, we are not saying that cause we do not judge Christianity with Christians & i hope you do so when the issue is about Islam.
    - PLSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS read the HOLLY QUR'AN cover to cover & then talk.

  8. Nothing can stop you brother, than saying SHAHADA ( Bear witnessing only one GOD & Muhhamed is his messenger ).
    Hope u take step forward.

  9. Bonny Filosa-Howe says:

    I am ashamed for you, Daniel Barbour. We need tolerance in this world.in case you didn't know that means we tolerate each others differences, you don't have to love them, but simple human respect is needed before we lose our planet to hatred. Please reconsider the harsh stance you have taken, as every religion has it's radicals but majority of people just want to worship in peace.

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