A peaceful fusion of cultures

Salama, Ashraf M (2004) A peaceful fusion of cultures. Faith and Form: The Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art, and Architecture, XXXVII (2). pp. 17-19. ISSN 0014-7001

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Abstract

As other faiths have done, wherever Muslims went they established communities and designed and built religious facilities for congregational prayers. Muslim communities in Western cultures constitute a clientele for mosque architecture that did not exist before the 1950s. During the early 1960s significant numbers of Muslims immigrated to Europe and North America. In the mid-‘60s they felt the need to express their presence by erecting mosques. The mosque in a non-Muslim setting became a symbol, a point of reference that provides an umbrella under which people of a common belief can unite and interact. It is a catalyst for developing community spirit, promotes collective strength, and imbibes values that pertain to human behavior and code of conduct. In Europe and North American, Muslim communities are minorities in predominately Christian and non-Muslim cultures whose great churches, temples, and synagogues date back to several centuries. Mosques are perceived as non-verbal statements that convey environmental messages of presence. They differ dramatically from mosques built by communities in Muslim countries for everyday use. This is evident in early mosques built in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Washington, and later in New Mexico, Indiana, and Toronto.