Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis | St. Louis Public Radio

Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis

Fellowship of Wildwood, a baptist church in west St. Louis County, allows certain trained congregants to carry weapons. Church leaders say their volunteer security team helps provide peace of mind to the congregation.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s hard to tell who has a gun at Fellowship of Wildwood church, unless you’re really looking.

The men stand silently at the edge of the crowd, as worshippers shrug off their heavy winter coats and sip from paper coffee cups before the Sunday service. 

Nicknamed the “sheepdog ministry,” the group of about a dozen volunteers provide armed protection for churchgoers at Fellowship of Wildwood.

Attacks on religious spaces have become a troubling new reality, leaving congregations to grapple with how to respond. While some train congregants or hire armed guards, other faith leaders in St. Louis have resisted the idea of allowing guns inside houses of worship. 

Volunteers make no-sew blankets during the annual Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service in 2017.
Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service

While many in the St. Louis region will be opening presents on Christmas Day, a group of volunteers will spend the day giving back to the community. 

TSA workers receive lunch from the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis during the partial government shutdown.
The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis

Federal workers across the nation are taking a temporary sigh of relief as the government reopens for three weeks during negotiations over security along the southern border.

But even with the shutdown on pause, there is still a lingering question of when the roughly 800,000 federal workers nationwide affected by the shutdown will get paid.

Congregants take part in an interfaith Shabbat service at Temple Israel on November 2, 2018, nearly one week after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Jewish congregations in St. Louis came together this weekend for the first Sabbath since a gunman killed 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Some congregations, including Temple Israel in Creve Coeur, invited residents from all faiths to join them for the Jewish Sabbath, known as Shabbat. Interfaith services were also held in cities across the country as part of a social-media campaign to send a message that “love triumphs over hate.”

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.

Alen Kajtezovic (center) traveled to St. Louis to attend the conference with a group of young people from the Waterloo, Iowa Islamic center.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

While Donald Trump’s pathway to the Republican nomination for president continues to strengthen, some Muslim Americans in St. Louis for a conference on social justice say they’re more concerned about the people who support him.

The Islamic Society of North America hosted the conference in west St. Louis County Saturday, which was attended by about 400 people.

Jamie Stevens (center) unloads a mirror at the donation center with Ferid Keranovic (top).
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis police chaplain Dzemal Bijedic met a Syrian refugee family struggling to keep basic necessities in their home, he took to Facebook.

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.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 18, 2011 - Apart from the good food, time with family and watching children tear through wrapping paper, the holidays are also a season of volunteerism and charity. From the ringing of Salvation Army bells to delivering food for Meals on Wheels, many people take extra time during the season to do good in their communities.

The Muslims in your neighborhood

Oct 25, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 25, 2010 - Every Friday around lunch time, a line of cars drives into the empty parking lot of an empty building. Around to the back lot, the men park and enter. Over speckled blue carpet, they walk into the gym, lay out their rugs and begin their prayers.

Mir Asif is among the men who come to this St. Charles chapel each Friday, like they have for the past three years.

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.