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The Mosque in America a National Portrait

The Mosque in America a National Portrait

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There are now more than 2000 mosques in the U.S. That's about a 74 percent increase from ten years ago, according to a new study conducted by among others , the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
There are now more than 2000 mosques in the U.S. That's about a 74 percent increase from ten years ago, according to a new study conducted by among others , the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: New England Public Radio on Mar 05, 2012
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Activities and Programs for Mosque Members

The next question asked the frequency with which the mosque offers each of several

types of activities for its members. Ninety-two percent of mosques offer at least one of the listed

programs regularly. Just one percent of mosques holds no programs, even occasionally.

About two-thirds of mosques regularly offer Islamic study classes and regular khatirah.

More than half regularly offer Arabic classes and sisters’ activities.

Programs offered with moderate regularity include Qur’an memorization/tajwid classes

and youth activities.

About one in four mosques or fewer offer New Muslim classes, fitness programs, or

parenting/marriage counseling classes.

The figures for 1994 are virtually the same as in the 2000 Study.

Frequency of Activities and Programs Offered by the Mosque

Percentage giving each response

Regularly

Occasionally

Not at All

Islamic study classes (other

68%

16%

16%

than Weekend School)

Regular khatirah or short talk

66

19

15

Arabic classes

57

20

23

Sisters’ activities or programs

54

28

19

Quran memorization or

tajwid classes

48

18

34

Youth activities or programs

41

34

25

New Muslim class

26

28

46

Fitness or martial arts classes

or sports team

23

19

58

Parenting or marriage counseling

classes/workshops

11

39

50

Any of the above

92

78

1*

*i.e., one percent of mosques hold none of the listed programs, even occasionally.

39

Interaction with the Outside Community

Respondents were also asked whether, during the prior year, the mosque had been

involved in promoting Islam, interfaith cooperation, and political or community action.

Over nine-tenths of mosques stressed the importance of dawah to non-Muslims during the

previous year. The ideal of inviting others to Islam is very much a part of the message

heard in mosques.

About seven-tenths visited a school or church to present Islam and contacted the media.

Slightly fewer participated in an interfaith dialogue.

Political involvement is less common than other forms of involvement. More than half of

mosques have contacted a politician and a minority of mosques--but still over a third--

had a politician visit.

The area of least involvement is in interfaith social service projects.

Did your mosque do any of the following

activities during the past 12 months?

Percentage doing each activity

Stress the importance of dawah to

non-Muslims in the masjid’s teachings

92%

Visit a school or church to present Islam

71

Write or call the media

70

Participate in an interfaith dialogue or program

66

Write or call a political leader

61

Have a politician visit the mosque

41

Participate in an interfaith social service project

37

Any of the above

96

40

The largest mosques are most likely to have engaged in each type of interaction with the

outside community. However, all mosques with Jum`ah attendance below 500 are

identical in terms of their interaction. The following table illustrates this fact, using

attendance at Jum`ah prayer as the indicator of mosque size.

Interaction with the Outside Community by Jum`ah Attendance

Percentage doing each activity

Number of Usual Attenders

50 or

51-

101-

201-

Over

Fewer

100

200

500

500

Stress the importance of

dawah to non-Muslims89%

85%

93%

95%

98%

Visit a school or church to

present Islam

66

67

78

69

82

Write or call the media

65

74

66

73

80

Participate in an interfaith

dialogue or program

69

58

69

59

80

Write or call a political

leader

58

65

57

59

76

Have a politician visit the

mosque

33

34

45

39

64

Participate in an interfaith

social service project

34

42

34

34

50

Any of the above

95

94

96

98

100

41

The following table shows how frequently each of five ethnic types of mosques interacts

with the outside community.

Mosques with members who are predominantly South Asian are relatively unlikely to

contact either the media or a politician.

Mosques with members who are predominantly African American are more likely than

others to participate in an interfaith dialogue/program, participate in an interfaith social

service project, or have a politician visit the mosque.

Interaction with the Outside Community by Predominant Ethnicity

Percentage doing each activity

Ethnicity of Masjid*

African

South

Mixed

All

American

Asian

Arab

Arab/S. AsianOthers

Stress the importance of

dawah to non-Muslims95%

89%

94%

93%

87%

Visit a school or church to

present Islam

82

57

64

75

74

Write or call the media

70

60

73

75

78

Participate in an interfaith

dialogue or program

79

51

65

66

65

Write or call a political

leader

71

47

60

68

57

Have a politician visit the

mosque

53

32

34

41

37

Participate in an interfaith

social service project

58

26

32

29

33

Any of the above

96

98

98

95

94

*See the section below on ethnic diversity.

42

Outreach

The great majority of mosques provide some outreach to members in need or to people in

the surrounding community.

The most common type of outreach is cash assistance. Ninety percent of mosques

provide this type of assistance, either directly or with the cooperation of another

organization. Most mosques also provide counseling, prison outreach, food assistance,

and clothing/thrift assistance. Only a third or fewer mosques are involved in the

remaining types of outreach: tutoring, voter registration, anti-drug or anti-crime activities,

day care, and substance abuse programs.

When mosques are involved in a given type of outreach, they generally provide it directly.

Relatively few mosques provide any of the services in cooperation with another

In the past 12 months did your mosque provide or cooperate

in providing any of the following services for your own mosque’s

members or for people in the community?

Percentage giving each response

Yes,

Yes, ProvidedCooperated

Directly

With Another

By Mosque

Organization

No

Cash assistance to families or

individuals

84%

9%

10%*

Counseling services – marital

or family

74

3

23

Prison or jail program

60

6

34

Food pantry, soup kitchen, or

collect food for the poor

55

14

32

Thrift store or collect clothes

for the poor

53

11

37

Tutoring or literacy program

28

5

67

Voter registration program

24

9

68

Anti-drug or anti-crime program

in the neighborhood

18

14

68

Day care or pre-school program

16

4

81

Substance abuse program

12

11

79

*Percentages add to more than 100 because some mosques provide services both directly and in

cooperation with another organization.

43

organization. The greatest level of cooperation is with substance abuse programs. Over a

third of mosques involved in this type of outreach do so in cooperation with another

organization.

In addition to the ten services listed previously, mosques were asked to name other types

of outreach in which they participate. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) named at least one additional

type of outreach in response to this question. The activities mentioned are extremely varied and

not easily summarized. The most common type is involvement with children or youth, but this

was mentioned by only eight of the mosques responding to the survey.

The median number of Muslims served monthly by each mosque is 45. Fifty-three

percent of mosques report serving some (i.e., one or more) non-Muslims monthly. Among this

53 percent, the median number of non-Muslims served is 10.

The table below breaks down the provision of services by size of Jum`ah attendance.

Larger mosques tend to be more likely than smaller mosques to provide most types of services

(anti-drug/crime and substance abuse programs are notable exceptions). Differences between

larger and smaller mosques are especially pronounced in the cases of voter registration and day-

care/pre-school.

Provision of Services by Jum`ah Attendance

Percentage providing each service directly

Number of Usual Attenders

50 or

51-

101-

201-

Over

Fewer

100

200

500

500

Cash assistance

75%

80%

87%

90%

90%

Counseling services

66

66

74

79

88

Prison or jail program

60

65

60

57

64

Food assistance

49

55

55

57

64

Clothing/thrift assistance

50

55

53

51

60

Tutoring or literacy

18

30

30

32

33

Voter registration

16

11

25

32

46

Anti-drug or anti-crime

17

25

16

21

8

Day-care or pre-school

6

9

15

20

43

Substance abuse program

16

14

10

9

4

44

The next table breaks down provision of services by predominant ethnicity of the

mosque. Mosques in which members are predominantly African American are most likely to

provide most of the listed services. African American mosques stand out especially in their

disproportionate involvement in prison programs and anti-drug/anti-crime advocacy.

Provision of Services by Predominant Ethnicity

Percentage providing each service directly

Predominant Ethnicity of Masjid*

African

South

South Asian

All

American

Asian

Arab

and Arab

Others

Cash assistance

88%

77%

87%

84%

83%

Counseling services

88

62

77

67

73

Prison or jail program

81

43

60

63

53

Food assistance

67

44

52

50

61

Clothing/thrift assistance

60

52

42

50

54

Tutoring or literacy

37

22

21

24

32

Voter registration

25

26

27

20

20

Anti-drug or anti-crime

43

8

14

3

14

Day-care or pre-school

13

16

26

14

14

Substance abuse program

28

4

3

3

14

45

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