The Muslim community in St. Louis, Missouri has access to a variety of resources from both within and outside of their own community. Organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have organized services to help meet the needs of Muslims in the area. These services include spiritual counseling, visits from volunteers, religious dietary accommodations, a religious advisory council, worship services and studies, an in-chapel library, and special programming.
In addition to these resources, there are also opportunities for members of the Muslim community to connect with other religious groups in the area. The Muslim-Jewish Service Day is an annual event that brings together volunteers from both communities to work on projects that benefit charities. This year, volunteers also organized a conversation in Daar-Ul-Islam so that members of Jewish, Muslim and other religions could talk about their common values and stories in an open and supportive environment. Hayat Williams, a Muslim born in the United States of Sudanese Arab descent, spoke at the event about the cultural differences between Muslims and other religious groups. He highlighted how some countries in Africa and the Middle East that have a Muslim majority practice customs such as cutting, which can be dangerous and life-altering.
Hayat was part of the second major wave of Muslim immigrants who arrived in this country in the 1970s. At Monday night's event, Hayat discussed how Muslim women in St. Louis don't wear headscarves or veils on their faces or cover their clothes with burqa or chador. He also distinguished between charming cultural extras of barnacles and more extreme practices such as the Taliban's ban on educating women or African female circumcision. The resources available to members of the Muslim community in St. Louis are vast and varied.
From spiritual services to interfaith conversations, there are plenty of opportunities for Muslims to connect with each other and with other religious groups in the area.