Muslims in Louisville
Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D.
Muslim is one who submits to the will of Allah (The One God-Creator of the Universe). The Muslim practices the religion of Islam (submission to the will of Allah).
Muslims have been coming to the United States, Central and South America since the time Columbus and much before. Many were brought to the United States as slaves from West African countries. The present Melungeons in the state of Kentucky are of Muslim ancestry. Abraham Lincoln's mother and wife belonged to the Melungeons.
Muslims along with Christians came to Louisville from Lebanon at the beginning of this century. Many of the Muslims could not practice their faith. The children of Muslim Lebanese played and grew up in the company of the children of the Lebanese Christians and got married to them. As a result they converted to Christianity. Also there are sporadic examples of Muslims from Turkey leaving Islam and embracing the religion of their spouses. The followers of Elijah Muhammad belonged to the Nation of Islam. Such as Muhammad Ali, the world-renowned three time boxing Champion. (Today Muhammad Ali is the finest example of a Sunni Muslim). One time they were called the Black Muslims. Some notable examples who became Sunni Muslims are Malcolm X, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, etc. After the death of Elijah Muhammad, his son, Imam Warith Din Mohammed moved away from the Nation of Islam and followed the traditional Islam or mainstream Islam. His organization is presently known as the American Muslim Society, headquartered in Hazel Crest, Illinois, with branches spread all over the United States. They run the chain of Clara Muhammad Schools throughout the United States. There are quite a few followers of the Nation of Islam in Louisville and they have a Mosque on Broadway. Their national leader is Minister Louis Farrakhan. Jerald Muhammad is the Nation of Islam leader in Louisville. These are the indigenous Muslims. In the early 1960s immigrant Muslims started to arrive in Louisville from India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bangladesh, etc. In the early 1980s Muslims arrived in Louisville from Afghanistan.
In the 1990s Muslims came to Louisville from Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, etc. Now Muslims are coming from Kosovo.
Today Louisville boasts of a Muslim population of 5,000 to 10,000 with several Islamic organizations. Among them is the Islamic Cultural Association of Louisville, which is the oldest Islamic organization in Louisville (founded in 1975). It is located at 1911 Buechel Bank Road, Louisville, KY 40217(Phone: 499-0334). The other Islamic Centers are the Islamic Center of Louisville (Fourth Street Mosque), 1715 S. 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40208(Phone: 426-9171); Masjid Muhammad, 1917 W. Magazine Street, Louisville, KY 40203 (Phone: 776-4868); Faisal Mosque, Inc. (River Road Mosque), 4007 Upper River Road, Louisville, KY 40207(Phone: 893-9466) and the Al-Zaharah Islamic Education Center, 5438 New Cut Road, Louisville, KY (Phone: 367-7878). There are two Islamic Schools. One is called Nur Islamic School of Louisville, 1911 Beuchel Bank Road, Louisville, KY (Phone: 459-9447) and the other is the Islamic School of Louisville, 8215 Old Westport Road, Louisville, KY (Phone: 412-7825). There are other active Islamic organizations some are world-renowned. Among them are the Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., 7102 W. Shefford Lane, Louisville, KY (Phone: 423-1988); Fons Vitae which is a branch of the Islamic Text Society (based in Cambridge, England), 49 Mockingbird Valley Drive, Louisville, KY (Phone: 897-3641). There are a few Muslim Owned Businesses such as Pita Delights, AM/PM Minimart, Babylon Restaurant, Asian Pearl, Days Inn and Motel 8, etc., Muslim Students Association, Muslim Youth of Louisville, International Consultants for Action Oriented Research and Programs for Muslim Women, Inc., Islamic Information Center, Bosnian Muslims organization, Somalian Muslims organization, etc. One recent and noteworthy organization is the AMERICAN MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF LOUISVILLE (AMAL).
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