MO: METRO MUSLIMS BATTLE PREJUDICE FOR THEIR BELIEFS
Tensions between Christianity and Islam have never been higher in the United State. Still, in this primarily Judeo-Christian nation, some statistics suggest Islam is the fastest growing religion in the country and the world.
Hard and fast numbers are hard to come by but some statistics suggest 34,000 Americans are converting to Islam every year. No one really tracks these numbers in an official way, because there is no "evangelism" per se in Islam. They say they're not actively trying to make people Muslims, they can only tell you the message, whether or not you embrace it is between you and God.
Here in Kansas City, Muslim leaders said 9/11 exposed a lot of people to Islam and its message, and as some learn about the faith, they're called to follow it.
On Fridays, Muslims are required to attend a weekly prayer. The room upstairs is overflowing with men, as the women pray separately in a room downstairs. Susann Bashir is among them. She converted to Islam two years ago. She says adjusting to wearing the scarf, the hijab, was not a problem for her.
"You could say it's like a billboard to say I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't cuss, I don't touch men, I don't eat pork," Bashir said, "I am Muslim and my life is centered around doing good, what God wants us to do."
Bashir said what was hard for her was some of the angry reactions she got when she converted. "I've had people tell me to go back where I'm from," she said. "What, Nebraska?" Bashir grew up on a farm in Nebraska and she said Christianity was never clear to her. One day she got an audio tape about Islam and it was like someone lifted the fog. "I was really happy because I understood things and I was also like why did no one tell me this before," she said.
The Islamic Center in Kansas City said before 9/11 one person would embrace Islam maybe every three or four months, but now it's more like once a week.