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Faith in Mosque City NY, Part 12

Muslims are deeply religious and regularly pray and a third are immersed in mosque culture.

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Faith in Mosque City NY

Muslims are deeply religious and regularly pray and a third are immersed in mosque culture.

Almost all Muslims in the northeast United States believe in One God, or Allah, and most (71%) say that religion is very important in their lives, according to data from the 2011 PEW survey of Muslim Americans. Indeed, almost half (48%) say that they do the five required prayers a day. The same number also say their prayers at least once per week in a mosque or Islamic center. 48% of mosque leaders in the 2011 Mosque Study of 524 leaders drawn from 2106 mosques noted that most of their close friends are within the Muslim community. A third also participate in other kinds of social and religious events at a mosque.

Faith of Muslims NE US PEW 2011


However, over half (56%) of the mosque leaders in the United States in 2011 said that they take into account both modern conditions and Islamic teachings in making decisions. Most likely, local NYC mosque leaders have similar views.

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Communities of belief and the outside world

Two thirds (65%) of Muslims in the northeast United States are Sunni, 9% are Shiite. 17% list just “Muslim” without specifying a specific community of Islamic belief. 5% offer other various Islamic denominational offerings.

When focused toward inside of the Muslim community, a large group (39%) maintain that there is only one true way to interpret the teachings of Islam. However, a majority (52%) are more relaxed about interpretational differences among Muslims, agreeing that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of the Koran.

This relaxed view of the majority also carries over toward attitudes toward religion and culture outside of the mosque. A majority (51%) allow that “many religions can lead to eternal life.” 40% differ with this view, saying that only Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life.

After 911, Mosque leaders strikingly have shifted their views of American society.

Before 911, Islamic preaching in the United States often focused upon how corrupt and immoral the nation was. Afterwards, American Moslem leaders across the country came to recognize that their harsh condemnations of American culture were inconsistent with their anger at the terrorist attacks. By 2011 a majority (55%) of mosque leaders disagreed with teaching that condemned American society as immoral. By all reports, this is a dramatic shift. Consequently, mosque leaders (81%) are adamant that they want to be involved in American society. Indeed, over half of mosque leaders in 2011 noted that many of their closest friends are not Muslim.

The very negative tone toward American society continues among some African American and salafi (very conservative sharia-orientated) Moslems.

U.S. Muslims respond to idea that American society is immoral:

49%  disagree

6%    disagree strongly

21%  neutral

3%     strongly agree

21%   agree

2011 Mosque Study



Read next: At 911 Memorial Muslim activist hope Pope will vouch for their peacefulness. Mosque City NY, Part 13

Read previous Mosque City NY, Part 11: The modern education of a Bronx imam

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