Youths top US mosques challenges has posted a feature piece noting the significance of youth and young people in the changing face of US Muslims in their local Islamic centers and communities. “Islamic centers must include youth on their boards and in their decision-making process,” imam Mahdi Bray, executive director of MAS Freedom.

New generations of Muslims top a long list of tough challenges faced by mosques and Islamic centers across the country, citing a relevance for their perspective and inclusion in decision making processes. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan Chapter, says reaching out to youths should be in both classical Islamic knowledge and its practical application in America. “In this endeavor, Islamic centers need to develop young leaders and encourage them to study Islam academically,” he believes.

Bulgaria: Ataka wants referendum on second Sofia mosque

Sofia councilors from an ultra-nationalist party are demanding a referendum concerning the planned construction of a second mosque in the Bulgarian capital. The Ataka party argues that Muslims in Sofia already have one mosque and that this is sufficient. Ataka are opposed to any form of promotion of the Islamic faith or construction of mosques or Islamic centers, particularly concerning issues of funding. Ataka party leader has already protested about the noise levels coming from the Sofia mosque, but now demands a total referendum on all Islamic facilities and places of worship.

A New England Muslim leader reaches out

Imam Khalid Nasr, head of the Islamic Center of New England, has been working overtime as a spiritual leader of both the Sharon mosque and the center’s other mosque in Quincy. Officially the imam of both mosques since the imam of the center’s Sharon mosque was arrested on immigration charges last year, Nasr, an Egyptian native, has been conducting services in both places and delegating duties to trained lay persons in cases of conflicting schedules. In his time in charge of the Islamic centers, Nasr has made outreach to Christians and non-Muslims a trademark of his service, meeting regularly with heads of area Christian congregations and welcoming school groups to tour the Quincy mosque. “We are not strangers anymore. This is our home. Our intention is to stay here and be part of this community, he said.

Mecca and Main Street

Islam is America’s fastest growing religion, with more than six million Muslims in the United States, all living in the shadow of 9/11. Who are our Muslim neighbors? What are their beliefs and desires? How are they coping with life under the War on Terror? Mecca and Main Street offers illuminating answers to these questions. Gaining unprecedented access to Muslim communities in America, Geneive Abdo traveled across the country, visiting schools, mosques, Islamic centers, radio stations, and homes. She brings these stories vividly to life, allowing us to hear their own voices and inviting us to understand their hopes and their fears. Inspiring, insightful, tough-minded, and even-handed, it will appeal to those curious (or fearful) about the Muslim presence in America. It will also be warmly welcomed by the Muslim community that it depicts.