116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The oldest-standing Muslim mosque built in North America is considered a symbol of tolerance and acceptance of Islam and Muslims in the United States by the National Register of Historic Places.
The mosque, known as the Mother Mosque, is located right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was built almost 100 years ago.
In the early 1900s, Arab Christians immigrated to Cedar Rapids from the Middle East, many of them from Syria. Their Muslim family members and friends followed.
Muslims helped their Christian neighbors build the St. George Orthodox Church in southeast Cedar Rapids.
By the late 1920s, Muslim leaders in Cedar Rapids felt it was time to preserve their own culture, literacy and faith by building a mosque — a Muslim place of worship where people gather for prayer, sermons, weddings, funerals and even festivals.
The Christian community helped them build a mosque, just like the Muslim community earlier had helped build a church.
The Mother Mosque was completed in 1934, and the Christian and Muslim communities lived in harmony side by side.
Muslims continued to make Cedar Rapids home, building community and opening businesses including grocery stores, gas stations and salons.
Today, the mosque is known as the Mother Mosque, on Ninth Street NW, the first Building in North America built specifically to be a mosque.
After worshipping at the Mother Mosque for 40 years, the Muslim community moved to the new Islamic Center in Cedar Rapids in 1972.
The Islamic Council of Iowa purchased and restored the Mother Mosque in 1990.
It was rededicated in 1992, as a cultural center preserving the history of Islam in North America.
In June 2008, the basement of the mosque was flooded with 10 feet of water. Religious books, records and artifacts were destroyed.
Still, the Mother Mosque is on the Iowa State Historical Register and the National Register of Historic Places as an essential piece of American religious history.
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