Detroit Church to be Reborn as a Mosque

October 27, 2006

Author: Kim Kozlowski

Source: The Detroit News

The Islamic Center of North Detroit has a purchase agreement with the Archdiocese of Detroit for Our Lady Help of Christians' five buildings, which tentatively are planned to be used for an Islamic community center, larger worship space and possibly a school.

The conversion of the Detroit buildings, on the Hamtramck border, from church to Muslim center underscores how much the community's makeup has changed. Long-entrenched Catholic churches have had to downsize as their congregations moved to the suburbs and other immigrant groups moved in.

Hamtramck and nearby Detroit neighborhoods flourished in the early 1900s when automotive jobs attracted Eastern European immigrants, primarily from Poland. The Poles brought their culture, foods and Catholic faith to Hamtramck and soon Polish-themed restaurants, markets and churches sprung up in the area.

But in a trend familiar to immigrants in scores of other neighborhoods across the country, the Poles eventually started moving to the suburbs, especially to Sterling Heights and Warren.