Exhibit Gallery

Introductory Panel 1

Building Islam in Detroit is a research project that documents the growth of mosques and Muslim communities in greater Detroit over the last century. Since the project began in May 2004,
members of our research team have visited over fifty mosques and Islamic associations, photographing them, recording their histories, and interviewing the people who established them.

This exhibit explores “building” as a process that creates both physical objects and social worlds. Mosques are ideal examples of this creative process. They are sites at which Muslims give collective, material expression to their religious beliefs. As architectural forms, mosques reveal the cultural identities of their builders. Their locations tell the history of Muslim arrival and settlement in Detroit. Mosques are also works of art, where sacred words, images, and sounds intersect to produce spaces of unusual beauty. Most important of all, mosques are places where Muslims come together to strengthen their community through teaching and communal prayer.

We hope this exhibit will help you appreciate the historical richness, diversity, and influence of Islam in Detroit. Shaped by experiences of displacement and opportunity, of discrimination and empowerment, the building projects on display here are the groundwork for a Muslim American future.

Curators and Principal Investigators

Sally Howell
Program in American Culture, University of Michigan

Andrew Shryock
Anthropology, University of Michigan

Research Team

Omar Baghdadi
Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Mucahit Bilici
Sociology, University of Michigan

Mara Leichtman
Anthropology, Michigan State University

Kate McClellan
Anthropology, University of Michigan

Design Team

El Shafei Mohamed
Photographer, Art and Design, University of Michigan
(Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are by El Shafei Mohamed)

Elena Godina
Graphic Designer, University of Michigan

Karl Longstreth
Head Librarian, Map Library, University of Michigan

Building Islam in Detroit has received generous support from the following University of Michigan programs: Grant Opportunities for Collaborative Spaces, Digital Media Commons; the Rackham Interdisciplinary Institute; the Islam/Art/America Initiative (International Institute); and the Islamic Studies Initiative (International Institute).
Introductory Panel 1

Introductory Panel 1

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