Muslims | St. Louis Public Radio


Members of the Hindu Temple of St. Louis with traditional percussion instruments.
Raja Rajasekaran

New data analyzed by St. Louis University demographer Ness Sandoval shows that local residents from India now outnumber those from Mexico. St. Louis is among 14 U.S. cities where this is the case.

Today, about 15,000 residents born in India live in the St. Louis region. Slightly fewer people born in Mexico live here. The data Sandoval studied comes from the latest five-year American Community Survey.

A rainbow shines overhead the Kaaba while Muslims are on hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
Faiza Mushtaq

Earlier this month, millions of Muslims made their way to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the Islamic pilgrimage known as hajj. It’s one of the largest annual gatherings, and there, Muslims who represent hundreds of ethnicities and languages give up their normal lives and dedicate the week to devout worship. 

The journey is made over five days during the last month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the trip to Saudi Arabia are required to do so at least once in their lifetime. 

The hajj is seen as one of the five pillars of Islam, and its end is marked with one of the two Islamic holidays, Eid al-Adha. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske explored the religious obligation and what it entails. 

Mojda Sidiqi models one of her designs, a long black silk dress with an embroidered brocade bib on April 10, 2019.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Mojda Sidiqi wants every woman to feel like a work of art.

But that can be a challenge — particularly for those who want less revealing clothing that fits their personal and religious beliefs.

Sidiqi is among a small group of St. Louis fashion designers working to create more modest clothing options for women. They held their first Modest Muslim Women’s fashion show over the weekend as part of the Council on American-Islam Relations in Missouri’s third-annual art exhibition. The show featured various types of “modest wear” — a style of clothing for which demand is growing worldwide.

People of many faiths gathered at the Daar Ul-Islam Mosque in Manchester on Friday, to mourn and pray for those affected by the mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday, March 15.
Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Typically in the Muslim community, women and men do not hug one another unless they are relatives. Nevertheless, in a crowded meeting space inside the Daar Ul-Islam Mosque, about 200 heavy hearts and sympathetic spirits embraced and consoled each other in the wake of a terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.

New Zealand authorities say a 28-year-old white nationalist gunman killed at least 49 people while they were praying at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque. 

Faizan Syed, Jessica Mayo and Anna Crosslin joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the local impact of President Trump's executive orders on immigration.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders that sent the lives of many into chaos — in St. Louis and across the world.

Vince Bantu (left) listens to speaker SueJeanne Koh at the Summit for Future Theological Educators of Color, a conference held in Evanston, Ilinois, in the summer of 2014.
Vince Bantu | Jubilee Community Church

What exactly is an “inter-minority" dialogue?

For Vince Lee Bantu, it’s a space for where people of color can come share their common cultural experiences and nuanced struggles while building connections.

On Saturday, Inter-Minority Dialogue is an event with workshops that will explore topics that include “Latinos, Immigration, and the Church;” “Being Arab in St. Louis;” and “Partnering with Refugees.” Organized by local faith leaders like Bantu to focus on the experiences of people of color, the event will take place at Comunidad Cristiana Vida Abundante, 1216 Sidney St., in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2012 - Christmas Day in the morning Ismail Hacking, 10, and his brother Yusuf Hacking, 7, will play the piano for residents of a Creve Coeur nursing home. Last year the brothers sat at a keyboard at Creve Coeur Manor and played their recital pieces for about seven residents. Their parents Amany Ragab Hacking and Jim Hacking added support.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 19, 2012 - The terrorist attacks of 9/11 may have changed many things in American life, but as far as government surveillance of Muslim groups and efforts to undermine their influence, what has happened in the last decade is an extension of what went before.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 9, 2011 - The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, began a sad period in history that also marks a before-and-after milestone in the lives of many Muslim Americans, says Gulten Ilhan, a philosophy professor at St. Louis Community College at Meramec.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2011 - Dr. Ghazala Hayat recalls well the climate after the terrorist attacks nearly a decade ago.

"I would say for sure, all over the country since 9/11, it's gotten worse," said Hayat, who chairs the public relations committee of the Islamic Foundation of St. Louis. "There's no question."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 29, 2011 WASHINGTON - Nearly a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a new wave of bigotry and discrimination is affecting the everyday lives of many Muslim Americans, a Justice Department official and Muslim leaders said Tuesday.

"We continue to see a steady stream of violence and discrimination targeting Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities," said Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. Justice Department's assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Durbin sets Senate hearing on Muslims' civil rights

Mar 24, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March, 24, 2011 -  WASHINGTON - Concerned that a growing number of American Muslims are facing discrimination, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has organized a Senate hearing next week on possible measures to protect the civil rights of the religious minority.

Tuesday's hearing is being held in response to what the senator's staff called an increase in "anti-Muslim bigotry" last year, including hate crimes, hate speech, restrictions on mosque construction and other types of discrimination.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 13, 2010 - Ali Sheqer Pashkaj was born in Puka, a tiny Albanian village of 30 families. His father, a devout Muslim, owned a small general store that sold food and provisions.

One afternoon during World War II a group of German soldiers passed by the store. They were escorting a young Jewish male who was to be shot, and Ali's father invited the soldiers into the store for a drink. In between his generous pours of red wine, he slipped a note to the young man inside a piece of melon. The note said to run and hide in the woods.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 21, 2010 - 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.

Commentary: Post 9/11 misperceptions linger

Sep 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 15, 2008 - As we reflected on the tragedy of 9/11, my mind shifted to the psychological aftermath of hypervigilence and misperceptions. The reality is that in a number of ways we "went after" those who looked like our perpetrators long before the Bush Doctrine. Muslims and people of Arab descent were targets of hate crimes, satire, comedic insult, distorted media images and the like.