Colorado Mosque Becomes Increasingly Diverse

July 31, 2006

Source: Rocky Mountain News

On July 31, 2006 Rocky Mountain News reported, "A local landscaper, a Denver-born consultant, and a kid from Kansas - if you hung around Denver's largest mosque... it's likely you'd bump into them all. They reflect Islam's changing profile from foreign-born faith to American presence. On Sunday, I found myself in the company of the three - Mohammad Noorzai, Malik Taylor and Ammar Amonette - because I had heard big changes were coming to the mosque, whose formal name is the Colorado Muslim Society. It's a major, influential Islamic center where thousands of Colorado's estimated 15,000 Muslims worship, and where the demographics are changing. Non-Arabs represent slightly more than half the mosque's members. The fastest growing segments are African Americans, whites and Latinos. 'We're a community that's more diverse than any (American) parish,' says Amonette. Three major firsts reflect the mosque's efforts to adapt. 1) Amonette, 45, has been named the society's first American-born imam, or spiritual leader. He's believed to be the only American-born imam to run a major Islamic center in the U.S. His predecessor was the Egyptian-born Ahmed Nabhan, who left in December by 'mutual decision.' 2) Later this week, the society will name its first executive director to guide the growing mosque and be a liaison of sorts to the wider, non-Muslim community. 3) On Aug. 13, the mosque will hold an open house - the first of its kind - at 2 p.m. for non-Muslims to learn more about Islam. It's organized by Taylor, 39, a legal services consultant and among Islam's single largest convert group, African Americans."