DECATUR, Ill. – “In the name of Allah, most merciful” were the chants heard inside the Masjid Wali Hasan Islamic Center.
A place that has brought two factions of Muslims _ American-born blacks and those from the Middle East _ together for worship.
During a recent service at the local mosque, more than 20 men bowed and prayed.
A few of the male children stood behind them, and a handful of women and girls formed a line behind the boys; everyone bowed and prayed at the same time.
But for those who remember, the mosque evolved during a time of uncertainty as the country was still winding down from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. . .
Mirza Baig has been in Decatur for 27 years. He said his native country of India has 25 percent Muslim population.
It wasn’t until after living in the city for seven years, Baig said, that he became aware that there was a mosque after reading about it in the newspaper.
“I tried to get ahold of Brother Shabazz, and told him that I was Muslim and wanted to come to the mosque; he said, ‘Come on down,'” Baig said. He was one of the first Muslims from a different country to show up at the mosque to worship and is now is secretary on the board.
“It has been a good experience,” he said.