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The Oldest Four Mosques in the United States

Societies carry their cultures, lifestyles, and beliefs with them when they migrate to new lands, building their own spaces. The fate of the United States isn’t much different. When Muslims migrated to the USA, one of the world’s most prominent immigration destinations, they did just that by constructing their own mosques.

The oldest active mosque in the USA was established 112 years ago, reflecting the rich history of the Muslim community that emerged on American soil centuries ago. In this article, we will discuss four historic mosques that shed light on the story of Muslims in the USA. Let’s get started!

Brooklyn Muslim’ Mosque, New York City

Brooklyn Müslümanlar Cami
Brooklyn Muslim’ Mosque

The oldest operating mosque in the United States is located in New York City, standing quietly on a side street. This two-story wooden building, painted in white and green, was constructed at the end of the 19th century. The mosque congregation consists of White Tatar Muslims who migrated from the Baltic countries in 1907, including Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus. In 1927, the Tatar community acquired an old wooden church with small towers on its roof, unlike the mosques they left behind in the Baltic, and converted it into a mosque.

The Vice President of the Mosque, Alyssa Ratkewitch, explains the significance of this mosque, saying, “This mosque was a crucial place for Tatars who immigrated to New York. It was like a milestone for them, where they knew they could come, and familiar faces would help them.

North Dakota Mosque, Ross, North Dakota

Kuzey Dakota Camii
North Dakota Mosque

The North Dakota Mosque is located in a remote and distant area in the northwest corner of North Dakota, near the Canadian border. The nearest town to the mosque has a population of approximately 50 people.

Kuzey Dakota Camii yeni hali
North Dakota Mosque, 2005

The mosque, built in 1929, was a symbol of the Lebanese and Syrian Muslims who built it here. The modern structure is a plain square building made of brick, featuring four slender artificial minarets and a small copper dome. The new mosque doesn’t bear much resemblance to the original mosque that was destroyed in 1979.

Mother Mosque, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Another symbol of the early Muslim immigrants to the USA, who came from Syria, is known as America’s Mother Mosque. Constructed in 1934, the mosque is also known as the Rose Fraternity Lodge and Muslim Place of Worship.

Anne Camii
Mother Mosque

The local congregation now continues its worship in the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center, built in 1971 near Mother Mosque, to better serve its growing community. The Mother Mosque primarily serves for religious education and hosts visits from schools and prominent figures in the United States.

Muhammad Mosque, Washington, D.C.

The roots of Muhammad Mosque, the first mosque built in the capital by enslaved African Americans and their African Muslim descendants, can be traced back to the 1930s. Founded as the place of worship for The Nation of Islam (NOI), the mosque was established with fundraising efforts and the support of Malcolm X, a figure recognized by Muslims worldwide.

Muhammed mescidi
Muhammad Mosque

In 1975, with the guidance of the late Imam Warith Deen Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad, who embraced Sunni Islam, Muhammad Mosque was founded as the fourth mosque of the community. Imam Muhammad appointed a Sunni imam to lead the mosque. Church-like pews were removed, the Qiblah direction was determined, and the space was transformed into a place of prayer.

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