Immigrant and Indigenous Islamic Centers Vary in the Bay Area

June 9, 2005

Source: The Argus

On June 9, 2005 The Argus reported, "for many Americans, mosques can be a mystery. Several Bay Area communities might be used to seeing men with beards and women with their heads covered walking into transformed store fronts or office buildings. But few probably know what goes on inside the Islamic houses of worship. In the wake of at least five Lodi men, including two imams, being detained by the FBI, the makeup of community mosques falls under the curious eye of the public. But despite suspicions and fears of backlash, several members of the Bay Area Muslim community said mosques — though sometimes isolated from the communities they are in — are not a strange place that should be feared. Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in Near Eastern Studies and Ethnic Studies with a speciality in Islamic Studies at University of California, Berkeley, said there is no single way American mosques are run. Some are only used for five daily congressional prayers, others double as community centers and some even run full-time schools."