Just Who Are Columbus Muslims?

Somebody asked me this question last week and I had to take some time to be able to explain this question, that at first seems simple, however it is not that simple because Columbus Muslims are a diverse group of individuals.

During my year in Columbus, Ohio I have met many Muslims from various ethnic and sectarian backrounds and was impressed to see many of them meet at the gigantic Noor Mosque.  I have had conversations with the whole spectrum of Muslims (Sunni: Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maleki, Hanbali, Salafi, Deobandi, Ahmadiyyah, Lahori Ahmadiyyah, Sufi; Shia: Jafari, Zaidi, Ismaili, and Sufi coming from any place in West North Africa to Eastern China.  However, the predominant group of Muslims in Columbus would have to be first and foremost be the Somali Sufi, Salafi, and Shia (small but does exist) communities which compromise about maybe 30,000 to 40,000 (about half) of the 60,000 Columbus Muslims. The rest of the demographics based on my research would have a majority of English, Indo-Pak, Turkish, Arab, and Persian speakers from mostly America (English/Spanish), Pakistan (Urdu), India (Urudu/Hindi), Turkey (Turkish), Egypt (Arabic), Iraq (Arabic/Kurdish/Persian), Syria (Arabic), The Levant (Arabic), The Gulf States (Arabic/Persian), Iran (Persian, Kurdish, Azeri Turkish, Arabic), Afghanistan (Persian/Pashto), Sudan (Sudanese/Arabic), Morocco (Arabic/French/Spanish), and others.  Once I get more information after researching some more, I can put more details on the ethnic and linguistic backrounds of Columbus Muslims.  If anybody is interested in helping me research more the demographics of Columbus Muslims, feel free to contact me inshallah.

America is a diverse country and truly is a melting pot that should be cherished for it's constitution, discipline and laws that have a lot in common with Islam and how Muslims should be.  There was a great Shaykh I talked to many years ago that said that you see "Muslims in Islamic Countries, but you see Islam in Non-Muslim countries."  If you ponder on this statement you will see what is meant by this...

We as Muslims in "so called" Islamic countries don't follow the ethical standards of Islam, however the Non-Muslim countries follow the ethical standards that are taught by Islam, but not in the name of Islam.  For example, when you drive down a street in Tehran, Riyadh, Karachi, Mumbai, Dubai, vs. Los Angeles, Washington DC. New York, London, Paris...you see a stark contrast in the driving habits of the people in these cities.  Westerners actually practice Islamic ethics of following the law (which is very Islamic), however many Easterners do not follow the laws of their own countries.  One of the most difficult tasks that America has had in Afghanistan and Iraq has been to help create an atmosphere to have the laws of the country enforced.  I have seen this same issue with immigrants (I was once an immigrant) coming from the Islamic world who do not follow the laws of the country or abuse the laws thinking that they are entitled to such abuse (which is Un-Islamic).  As a Muslim, you should follow the rule of law in the nation that you claim as your "Watan" (Vatan in Farsi/Persian).

The biggest issue with new immigrants of any faith coming to America is that they need to learn the laws and language of the nation to be better residents and citizens.  Everything is a two way street, meaning that if a person comes to America with the intent of becoming a resident or citizen, they need to learn the language and learn/abide the laws.  This seems simple and common sense, however there are many individuals who come in large immigrant groups/communities that end up having neighbors of their same ethnic and religious group that is not pro-active to assimilating into the American nation.  If a person wakes up in the morning, talk to his/her family, friends and then goes to work and talks to co-workers, then get's off work and talks to shop keepers...and they all speak the same language (which is not English) then we have a problem. These kind of immigrant enclaves have always had the potential of "Ghetto-ization" like that of earlier immigrants such as the Irish, Scottish, Germans, and Italians.

I will write more on this important subject soon...

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