Nigerian Muslims Spread Faith

September 1, 2008

Author: Gregg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News

Across from the burned-out house on Marlborough Street, behind a tall cyclone fence with a lock and chain on the gate, sits a single-family home -- clean, well-kept and full of praying Muslims.

"At first, we organized amongst ourselves and worshipped in different rooms of each other's houses," said Biodun Yinusa, 49, a construction contractor from Detroit and the president of the mosque. "Then we decided when we grew so much in numbers that we can't be in each other's houses. We were able to get this place. We bought it from HUD through the city and we did all kinds of work on it ourselves, improvements, to serve as a mosque."

But the immigrants from Nigeria are on the move, again -- along a path well-traveled by Muslim communities in Detroit since the first decades of the last century. They opened a new mosque Sunday, the Muslim Community Center of Detroit, in the former shop of a trophy manufacturer on West McNichols, just in time for the start of Ramadan, which begins today.

For Muslims, it is the holiest month of the year, during which they believe God began to reveal the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Metro Detroit may be in a long recession and the United States may be viewed dimly by much of the world, especially Muslim countries. But for a group of Muslims from Nigeria, the country remains a beacon and the city a place where they hope to spread their faith. The immigrants are making the most of opportunities here, earning college degrees, working as professionals and setting up places of worship and charity in hardscrabble neighborhoods in America's poorest city.