Women pray during the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis' service to celebrate Eid al-fitr, or the breaking of the month-long Ramadan fast.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of people, clad in colorful dresses and their finest clothes, filled the gymnasium at St. Louis Community College's Forest Park campus. After taking off their shoes, multi-generational families placed rugs on the floor, pointed in the same direction.

Waving, hugging and greeting one another, people waited for the beginning of the prayer service to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

courtesy photo

In Western media, we hear reports that Muslim women are relegated to a second class, largely powerless status and are denied education, independence and employment. We hear stories of women brutalized and abused.  

Dr. Ghazala Hayat
Provided by the university

As March winds blasted the region, West County lawyer Lubabah Abdullah’s hair remained neat under a bright scarf, giving her the élan of Grace Kelly riding in a sleek convertible with Cary Grant. Abdullah, an American-born Muslim of Sudanese Arab heritage wraps her head in bright colored scarves for modesty.

In South St. Louis
File photo | Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon

Mehnaz Afridi was astonished to learn that half of this area’s Muslims are Bosnians. The Muslim scholar will be in the area March 31 to give the Lee Institute lecture on the issues faced by Muslim women. For many in St. Louis, one of the main issues is correcting misperceptions.

The great majority of Bosnians resettled here between 20 and 11 years ago to escape the former Yugoslavia’s devastating war of religious persecution in 1992-95. Members of the new generation, born in St. Louis, are now graduating from high school.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A 2013 report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) identifies a network of 37 organizations that systematically promote anti-Muslim sentiment in America through prejudice, fear and hatred. CAIR calls it Islamophobia.

According to tax filings analyzed by CAIR, this network had access to nearly $120 million between 2008 and 2011.