The director of North America’s oldest mosque says Iowans have shown no hostility to Muslims living in the state, despite reports that Arab terrorists may be behind the attacks in New York and Washington. Imam Taha Tawil says Iowans aren’t showing the anger that’s been expressed elsewhere. The Imam says Muslims in Iowa are proud to be U-S citizens and Iowans. He says the state has a fairly large Islamic population, which grew rapidly late in the 1990s.The Imam says there are now about 72-thousand Muslims in Iowa, as flocks of immigrants came from Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, and Ethiopian. The “mother mosque” in Cedar Rapids was begun in the 1920s, and completed in 1934. The Imam says there are now 4th and 5th generation Iowa Muslims. Taha Tawil says incidents of general teenage vandalism occasionally happen, but don’t signal any anti-Muslim feeling in the community. They’ve worked with the civil rights commission, police, and others to show the Muslims are serious about crime prevention. The Imam says the mayor of Cedar Rapids phoned Tuesday to offer support to Iowa’s Islamic community. The Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids is on Iowa’s register of historic places.
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