Madison Islamic Center Increases Local Interest in Islam

July 22, 2006

Source: Wisconsin State Journal

On July 22, 2006 Wisconsin State Journal reported, "As midday traffic whizzes past on East Washington Avenue near the corner with Milwaukee Street, Salih Erschen steps onto the sidewalk and raises his hand to his mouth. Speaking in Arabic, the Wisconsin native and amir, or director, of the Madison Muslim Dawa Circle shouts out a call to prayer: 'God is great. There is no God but Allah. Come to prayer. Come to prosperity.' The public invitation to prayers that takes place five times a day at the new East Side center is common in Muslim countries, but a rarity in the United States, despite a growing number of Americans who are taking Islam as their religion. 'I haven't seen a call to prayer here in the United States,' said Ali Khan, executive director of the American Muslim Center in Chicago. 'We try to keep it very low key,' said Khan, whose mosque in northwest Indiana was shot at after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 'Most of us, when we're out in the mainstream, try to hide our identity these days,' Kahn said, adding the Muslim prophet Muhammad 'just became Mo.' But reaction to the call to prayer at the new East Side center 'is much more positive than negative,' Erschen said.