Strong Muslim communities are necessary for us to hold on to our faith, while contributing to the greater society here in Atlanta. We all know the necessity of associating with fellow Muslims, and we will have little impact in Atlanta if we are only a small group of individuals. To build a community, individuals must have some engagement beyond the Friday prayer.
I have watched as many mosques have operated well attended weekend schools for years. This effectively serves people between 5 – 13, the weekend school students, and 25 – 38, the parents of those in the weekend school. But there are few other programs that have participation outside the already mentioned age groups. This leaves a large part of the Muslim community neglected, with no engagement with the mosque.
This is a loss for the individual, the Muslim community and Atlanta. Reaching these people requires thinking outside the box. We have to provide them something relevant to their lives, which maybe don’t include young children. The programs need to go outside the area of scholarship, and have to address things like fellowship and life skills for a diversity of people with different educational and income levels, scholarship, ethnic backgrounds and degrees of assimilation. I would recommend that Mosques begin by asking people in these demographics, who might be outside our social circles, what programs they need and would appreciate, and then developing programs to address those.
These steps, though they sound trivial, are fundamental to reconnecting with, and retaining individuals that are a portion of our community that will be a key in the development of strong Muslim communities that will make things better for Muslims in the USA as we protect our spiritual strength while contributing to the future of Atlanta.
Free Weekly Emails