Muslims, part of American mix for long time: NY Times

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WASHINGTON, June 1 (APP): “ While the Muslims have witnessed a rising tide of Islamophobia in the United States during a presidential election year, a leading US publication carried out a feature about a nearly 100-year-old mosque in the state of North Dakota to underline that Muslims had been part of the American mix for a long time.

The mosque was built in 1929 in the state of North Dakota by the immigrants who came from area now called Syria and Lebanon. After years of disuse and ruin, the descendants of its founders and their Christian friends raised money to renovate the mosque in 2005.

The mosque is rarely used, but it remains a powerful emblem of Muslim heritage and pride, wrote the New York Times.
“And in this particular election year, when Muslim immigrants have been made a polarizing part of the political discussion, this obscure mosque in an isolated stretch of a rural state serves as a reminder that Muslims have been part of the American mix for a long time, and not only in populous hubs like Brooklyn; Dearborn, Mich.; and Chicago’s western suburbs.”

American Muslims have faced threats to their lives and their places of worships in recent months, especially the attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino.

Some Republican presidential candidates, including the now party nominee Donald Trump, have used these attacks to stir up Islamophobia during their election campaign which has drawn condemnation not just from various sections of people in the United States, but from the world leaders as well.

Trump went to the extent of even suggesting a ban on entry of all Muslims into the United States. His anti-Islamic rhetoric has contributed to a slowdown in process to bring in the Syrian refugees, who are forced to leave their country after a war waged by the Islamist militants of the ISIS.

The New York Times’ article on the mosque in North Dakota is a reminder that Muslims are not just the recent migrants but are part of the American culture for a long time.

“May be simply by being there, simply by existing in their undeniably concrete way, the mosque and the cemetery, though little used, serve a purpose,” the article says.

“Amid a presidential campaign in which one party’s presumptive candidate calls for a ban on Muslim immigration, a campaign that has coincided with a rising number of bias
crimes against Muslims people and institutions, this little plot is a reminder that Muslims were here as far back as the Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, Finns, Poles and Jews among whom they settled.”