Islam in America: U.S. Mosques Have Shortage of Imams

Photo by Tracy Simmons/Spokane Faith & Values for RNS

Religion News Service posted a story about the shortage of imams in U.S. mosques. The story used Spokane Islamic Center as its opening example, noting that the mosque is having a difficult time finding “an educated, bilingual, experienced imam who understands American culture.”

Read the full RNS story here.

The story cites a report of the study “The American Mosque 2011”, which found that “half of all mosques in the U.S. have no full-time staff, and only 44 percent of imams work as paid, full-time leaders.” Jocelyne Cesari, director of Harvard University’s Islam in the West program, agreed “that what the Spokane Islamic Center is seeking is in high command.” Cesari “blamed the dearth of interdisciplinary training offered in the U.S.” and that “more programs would allow clerics to become competent in both Islamic theology and American culture.”

The author of the RNS story Tracy Simmons utilized reports drawn from “The American Mosque 2011” study for her story. The first report from “The American Mosque 2011” focuses on basic characteristics of the American mosque and attitudes of mosque leaders; it can be found in a downloadable PDF here. The second report from the same study focuses on the activities, administration and vitality of the American mosque; the downloadable PDF can be found here.

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