Mother Mosque of America
Mosque on March 28, 2011
|Location||1335 9th Street NW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
|NRHP Reference #||96000516|
|Added to NRHP||May 15, 1996|
The Mother Mosque of America, once known as The Rose of Fraternity Lodge and also known as Moslem Temple, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States, is the longest standing mosque in North America. Built in 1934, it is the second oldest after the 1929 mosque built in tiny Ross, North Dakota, however that mosque was torn down in the 1970s and later rebuilt in 2005, leaving the Mother Mosque as the oldest standing. It is also slightly older than the Al-Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Construction was completed February 15, 1934, and the small structure served as a place of worship for Muslims for nearly 40 years. When a larger local mosque, the “Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids”, was built in 1971, the building was sold. Successive owners over the next 20 years allowed it to fall into disrepair.
In 1991 the Islamic Council of Iowa purchased the building, refurbished it and restored its status as a Muslim cultural center. The effort was mainly organized by the local Muslim community led by Imam Taha Tawil and Dr. Thomas B. Irving.
The Mother Mosque stands in a quiet neighborhood, flanked by houses on both sides, with a small marker off of First Avenue pointing the way to this historical site. Due to its small size, the majority of the Muslim population in Eastern Iowa and the Cedar Rapids area worship at other mosques, but the Mother Mosque remains a prominent center for information, prayer and community.
The Mother Mosque is listed on both the Iowa State Historical Register and the National Register of Historic Places as an "essential piece of American religious history, which symbolizes tolerance and acceptance of Islam and Muslims in the United States." It was listed on the National Register in 1996 as Moslem Temple.
In June 2008 waters flooded the mosque's basement, “where most of the books, artifacts, historic documents, old photos and filmed documentaries are stored”, “likely destroying nearly a century's worth of records, documents and artifacts.”
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mother Mosque of America.|
- Dannin, Robert. Black Pilgrimage to Islam. New York: Oxford UP, 2002.
- Nash, Michael. Islam Among Urban Blacks. Lanham: University Press of America, 2008.