Today, roughly 150,000 Muslims live in greater Detroit, and they worship in over 50 mosques. Most of these mosques are located in renovated banks, warehouses, old school buildings, storefronts, and churches. Others are purpose-built, multimillion dollar facilities that include gymnasiums, social service offices, private schools, and grand banquet halls.
Since 1990, the number of mosques in Detroit has doubled, with new mosques appearing in the outer suburbs and the inner city alike. These building projects are the work of congregations composed mostly of immigrants and their children, or converts and their families. Islam in Detroit is widely perceived to be “new” or “foreign,” and recent surveys find that over two-thirds of the city’s Muslims were born outside the US.
Few people realize that the rapid growth of Islam in Detroit is based on foundations laid by much older Muslim communities, some of which date back to the late 19th century.