Des Moines - Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States.Here in Iowa, it seems to be no different, and there are few reasons why so many Iowans are connecting with this faith. The Islamic Center of Des Moines is one of three Muslim mosques in the metro, so it may suprise you that an estimated twelve thousand Muslims live in the metro area.One of the most well-known of them is Ako Abdul-Samad.He's says people moving into Iowa are helping the religion grow."You have a large Bosnian population, about fifteen thousand in Des Moines.Ninety-nine percent of them are Muslim." In fact, the Bosnian community just purchased a former day care center to build a new mosque to accommodate all the growth, and the very first Islamic grade school opened its doors in Des Moines this year.Some native Iowans are also converting to the faith.
After 9-11, Ako says people living in Des Moines seemed to become more educated about Islam.He believes they learned it is a religion of peace."When people saw that, we started getting converts left and right.People were saying, 'I like what I hear.'" In the future, Ako expects more people will want to take a closer look at Islam, and he thinks Des Moines, a mostly Christian town, will accept that. A Muslim from Sioux City is running for Governor this year, and the Islamic Center of Des Moines plans to expand its grade school next year.