Dear Friends, As Salaam Alaikum (Peace be unto you)
The aspirations of American immigrants is a story that finds its rebirth with each new group. The latest group to experience both the good side and the dark side of the force that is the melting pot of America is the Muslim community, particularly the immigrant Muslim community.
I spoke to the largely immigrant Muslim community in Whitehall PA at their beautiful community and mosque center at 1988 Schadt Avenue in Whitehall PA. A wonderful and practical structure with a large and spacious lobby, a utility lecture/dinner hall and a beautifully laid out prayer space, the mosque was all that most mosques are not. I found out that the architect was an American born woman of a Libyan American father and an European American mother, and what struck me was the combination of practical American ingenuity and a humble Muslim-centric sense of dimension that had been incorporated into the design; a perfect combination of her parents' heritage.
The congregants were justly proud of their community and welcoming to my CAIR-PA associates as we talked about the work CAIR does on behalf of Muslim Americans in the USA.
The local Chief of Police, Ted Kohuth, was present at the dinner event and spoke warmly of his support for the local Muslim community and also praised CAIR's vision and mission that he had read about at its website.
This is a community I look forward to getting to know more intimately and learning from their experience in community building.