When Imam Wahid Khan of Des Moines first heard that the Mother Mosque of America, the oldest mosque in North America, was destroyed by floodwaters last week, he feared the worst.
"I was really, really very sad," said Khan, who was married in the mosque in 1966 when he and his wife were students at Iowa State University in Ames. "We were hoping that it was still standing."
To be sure, he drove a small contingent of volunteers from Des Moines on Saturday to help in a two-day cleanup of the mosque at 1335 Ninth St. NW.
When the Cedar River rose to historic levels June 13, the waters weren't concerned about denominational boundaries or faith lines. Worship centers located in the flood's path were struck just as hard as the homes and businesses surrounding them. Much of the weekend hours were scheduled for cleaning, clearing and emptying damaged buildings.
In many cases, congregants and worshippers found themselves without a home, without a place of worship and, for some people, without an operable business.Video by Stephen Schmidt
"I should be helping my father clean out his business — water went to the second floor — but we were there for three days and now it is time to be here," said Abraham Ajram of Cedar Rapids, who was among the crowd cleaning the Mother Mosque of America on Saturday. (MORE)