Muslim Leaders Say Faith Gaining Ground in U.S.

July 5, 2008

Author: Richard Vara

Source: The Houston Chronicle

Despite the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, acceptance of Islam politically and socially is on the increase in the U.S., [n]ational Muslim leaders gathered in Houston said Saturday.

"American Muslims have become an important global force," said Sayyid M. Syeed, director of the Islamic Society of North America's Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances in Washington, D.C. The 45-year-old organization, the largest Islamic group in the country, holds regional conferences to promote Islam and engage larger communities. They also hold an annual national conference for Muslims and non-Muslims.

Syeed told Muslims attending the South Central Conference at the Westin Galleria that Islam has made great political strides in the U.S. since the terrorist attacks that brought down the Twin Towers in New York.

Keith Ellison, a House Democrat from Minnesota, was elected in 2006, and Andre Carson, a House Democrat from Indiana, was elected in 2008. Both are Muslim.

"And all of this happened after 9/11," Syeed said. The attacks made two changes in America, he said. "Suddenly America became aware of the presence of Muslims in America."