New Mosque Commemorated on Site of First US Mosque in North Dakota

October 20, 2005

Source: News VOA

On October 20, 2005 News VOA reported, "America's first mosque was built in one of the least populous states - North Dakota. Like many immigrants, the Lebanese who arrived on the flat plains of North Dakota in the early years of the 20th century came in search of economic opportunity. Hassan Abdallah [a North Dakotan Muslim] says his parents didn't plan to stay. 'They always talked about how they came to the United States. They were going to get rich and go back to Lebanon. It didn't work out that way. Nobody got rich'... Sometime around 1929 or 1930, when [the Abdallahs and other Lebanese families who moved to the area] realized they would be staying in North Dakota, working as farmers and raising their families here, the Lebanese community decided to build a mosque... Now 80, Hassan Abdallah is one of the few Muslims still living in the area. He says by the 1940s no one was using the mosque any more. In the 1970s, the younger members of the community - grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original immigrants from Lebanon -- voted to tear it down... At the urging of Mr. Abdallah's sister, Sara Omar, who died last year, a new mosque was built where the old one stood. About 80 people attended the commemoration this summer."