Friday 30 January 2015
Before 1980 there were 10,000 Muslims living in British Columbia. By, 1980 75,000 Muslims lived in B.C. It's estimated there will be over 150,000 by 2017.
Muslims are so diversified, in Canada and the United States they represent a great number of different movements and identities such as: immigrant, indigenous, Sunni and Shi'ite, conservative, liberal. It's not easy to determine but it's estimated that there are 8-10 million Muslims in North America alone.
Most American and Canadian Muslims are immigrants, coming after 1965 when the, Immigration and Nationalities Act in America abolished national quotas. But early immigrants, mostly labourers and merchants, settled in waves in the East, the Midwest and Pacific Coast. There were other waves that occurred as a direct result of their Muslim Arab countries political and economic circumstances, such as the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the Iranian revolution. Also the inclusion of the civil rights movement. It played a part too. When before immigrants were uneducated and poor, today they are among the most highly educated and successful professional people in Canada and America.
When Muslims first arrived on our shores they were a small group of people and were almost forced to come together, mixing for worship and social interaction. As more came, and as they propagated, they started to band together in their own groups, the Sunnis and Shi'ites. Shi'ites account for 1/5 of all American Muslims. They built the largest mosque in North America, the Islamic Centre of America.
In the early part of the 20th century many Africa-Americans religious movements claimed Islamic roots. The Nation of Islam (now the Muslim American Society) became the most prominent African-American freedom movement to identify with Islam, beginning in Detroit in the 30's, under Elijah Muhammad who promoted racial separatism. Have you heard of, Malcolm X. Well, he was involved. Look what happened to him. Assassinated.
Lastly, there are the converts. A far smaller grouping of American Muslims. It's made up of individuals who have decided to adopt Islam as their faith and identity for different reasons such as: marriage or they find it intellectually persuasive.
The da'wa (the call, summons) or the Islamic missionary movement is strong in Canada and the United States were Muslims are making conversions in prisons, in schools and minority communities.
The Muslims will need more mosques.
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Ref: Islam - A Short Guide To The Faith