The Muslim community in Philadelphia is a diverse group of people, from people of all faiths, races and ethnicities, to people who don’t even identify as Muslim.
The Muslim population in Philadelphia has grown to more than 1,000 people in recent years.
But it doesn’t seem like many Muslims are living together, because that’s not how it is in the city.
Muslim leaders and community members want to start creating an inclusive, diverse community, and they’re working on ways to do that.
“I think the problem is a lack of understanding,” says Abdulla Abu Khdeir, a Muslim leader and community member who is a member of the Philadelphia Muslim Public Affairs Council (PMAC).
“It’s not that we don’t want to welcome them, we just need to understand their needs and values and what they want to do, what their goals are, and what their culture is.”
Abu Khdoir is the co-chair of the Muslim Women of Philadelphia, a community advocacy group that is working to make sure Muslim women feel safe in their own communities.
“If they want us to be like they’re supposed to be, we want to be the same,” he says.
Abdullah Abu Khduir is a co-host of the CBC’s Muslim Women podcast.
She also serves as the executive director of PMAC.
“There are a lot of Muslim men in the community, but we are the minority.
We’re not the majority, so when people think about us, they’re thinking of women, or they’re talking about Muslims, or even, if they’re speaking to a Muslim man, they are talking about Muslim women.”
Abdualah Abu khduir (left) with her brother, who is also a member, during a gathering at their home in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Abdi Nur, a Philadelphia Muslim who also works as a community outreach coordinator, says the community needs to start working on bridging the gap between men and women.
“We need to start talking about men as equals, and we need to be more aware of women,” she says.
In 2015, the Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution stating that there are no “Muslim-majority” areas of Philadelphia.
But Abduleh Abu Khdooir and other Muslim leaders aren’t worried about that.
They are concerned that Philadelphia’s Muslim community is becoming more segregated, and that’s what they’re trying to change.
In addition to Abdulah AbuKhduir and Abdi Nuur, other Muslim community leaders include Abdua Ahmed Khdeeb, Abduha Mohamed, Abul Ala Maududi, and Nour Alkher, all of whom work at PMAC as community outreach coordinators.
Nour, the Muslim community’s representative at the Philadelphia Public Schools, is also an MPAC member.
She says she is “very excited” to see the Philadelphia’s diversity in leadership.
“It really is a beautiful community, it’s just the reality of who you are,” Nour says.
“But the real challenge is the lack of acceptance and the lack on understanding.”
“What you have to do is not discriminate against one group or one group of Muslims, but make it a priority to welcome all Muslims,” says Abu Khdelir.
“The fact is, we have a lot to work on.”