Source: The Washington Post
Wire Service: AP
On February 2, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "In the world of religion, there are certain milestones. Young Roman Catholics have confirmation and, along with some young Protestants, first Communions. Now a growing Muslim population in America is importing a rite of passage called Ameen. The cultural practice is a mostly south, southeast and central Asian one, familiar to perhaps a third of Muslims in the United States. It has two parts. The first Ameen, or 'Amen,' is held when a child finishes reading the Qur'an, roughly the length of the New Testament, for the first time in Arabic. The child reads the holy book aloud, sounding it out without necessarily understanding the words. The second, and more rare, Ameen comes when someone finishes memorizing it, a task that can take a full-time student as long as three years... America is home to as many as 6 million Muslims, though they remain a small faith group in this country relative to Christians. U.S.-born blacks and South Asian immigrants each make up about one-third of the community, with the rest from the Mideast, Africa, parts of Europe and elsewhere, according to the Mosque in America study released in 2001 by the Council on American-Islamic Relations."