Islam

Younger children, like 11-year-old Tanya Raja, don't have to fast during the month of Ramadan like older Muslims do, but many start practicing at an early age.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, with its daily sun-up to sundown fasts, increased prayer and focus on charity, is drawing to a close. That means there are only a few days left for young Muslims to try to fast for the first time.

CAIR-St. Louis executive director Faizan Syed said this year's Sharing Ramadan event will be the biggest yet.
Council on American-Islamic Relations-St. Louis

As many as 500 St. Louis area Muslims and non-Muslims are expected to share in food and faith traditions Thursday for a "Sharing Ramadan" event, but this time, security measures will be in place. 

Dzemal Bijedic and Adil Imdad started the non-profit House of Goods in 2015 in response to the needs they saw in the St. Louis community.
House of Goods | Facebook.com

When St. Louis city police chaplain Dzemal Bijedic responded to a call for help from a newly-arrived family of Syrian refugees last year, he couldn’t have imagined that it would lead to the creation of a non-profit organization called Bait Ulmal, which means “House of Goods” in Arabic, to provide supplies to those in need at no cost.

Shaun Tamprateep of Fenton wants to explore St. Louis' cultural diversity. He studied Tourism and Hospitality in his father's home country of Thailand, and works as a driver for Metro Transit’s Call-A-Ride service.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Shaun Tamprateep grew up in Fenton, playing in the woods with a gang of neighborhood boys and sometimes landing at a friend’s house for dinner.

He noticed other families ate more hamburgers and fewer spicy dishes. But he didn’t pay much attention to the differences in his home — until he was almost a teenager.

A dinner party with Isaac (Jonathan C. Kaplan), Jory (Rachel Christopher), Emily (Leigh Williams) and Amir (John Pasha) in The Rep's "Disgraced" starts off on a friendly note but soon takes a different turn.
Peter Wochniak / ProPhotoSTL.com

This year’s most widely produced play in the country is on stage right now at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. 

“Disgraced” centers on an ambitious New York attorney grappling with his Islamic roots in a post-9/11 world. But the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is really about everyone’s American experience, people of all faiths or no faith, according to playwright Ayad Akhtar.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The president of Maryville University’s Muslim Student Association wants to set something straight:

“People need to understand that the real face of Islam is the face you see in front of you right now,” said Shehmin Awan. “It is us three people. It’s the billions of people who are practicing peacefully. It is not the face of ISIL or ISIS or whatever you want to call it. It’s not the face of a terrorist.

The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis says a member recently received a threatening call from a man upset over recent shootings in California that authorities say were carried out by a Muslim couple.
Courtesy Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis

Updated at 9:28 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2015, with confirmation from CAIR-St. Louis:

A local Muslim leader said he received a threatening call that he then reported to the FBI.

Salma Arastu

Artist Salma Arastu knows a thing or two about intercultural communication. She was born in India and raised in Hinduism before embracing Islam through her marriage. Now, she uses that melded faith background to build religious bridges through her artwork: Arabic calligraphy melded with abstract expressionist paintings.

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.

The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis says a member recently received a threatening call from a man upset over recent shootings in California that authorities say were carried out by a Muslim couple.
Courtesy Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Imam Samuel Ansari is from St. Louis. Anjum Shariff, born in India, grew up here, too. Melissa Matos, born in New York and raised in Miami, came to St. Louis a few years ago. Imam Muhamed Hasic arrived here from Bosnia 14 years ago. Twenty years ago, Gulten Ilhan, from Turkey, came to St. Louis. And in 1970, Mir Asif, from India, made the Gateway City his home.

One word describes all of them -- Muslims.