Exploring the Cultural Practices of Muslims in St. Louis, Missouri

The Muslim community in St. Louis, Missouri is a vibrant and diverse one, with a long-standing tradition of cultural practices that have been passed down through generations. From the traditional rites of the Quran to the iconic symbols of the city, Muslims have made a significant contribution to the culture of St. Louis.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a reflection of the Enlightenment thinking that Henry Shaw was raised in. Established in 1860, it is dedicated to learning, inquiry, and scientific and botanical research. It is also committed to global issues such as the retreat of tropical forests, the rise in pollution, and the destruction of endangered species. At the same time, it serves as an attraction for locals while providing educational programs and information about horticulture.

The St. Louis Zoo is another important cultural institution in the city. It dates back to 1876 when the city opened a zoological garden in Fairgrounds Park with a bear pit and a monkey house. After the 1904 World's Fair, interest increased and within ten years the city legislature appointed a zoo board.

The Vaughn Cultural Center was created by the Urban League in 1977 to preserve, articulate, and interpret local and national African-American art and culture. The First Street Forum began as a place to showcase contemporary art in changing exhibitions. Both are now located in Grand Center, an ever-growing arts area that centers on Grand Avenue between Delmar and Lindell. The Riviera Club was owned for a time by African-American political chief Jordan Chambers and offered an outlet for the best local bands during the 1940s and 1950s.

Even in a racist society, black culture seeped into white consciousness. The Mill Creek Valley music district experienced a slight revival in the 1960s when new clubs opened in Gaslight Square. Meanwhile, smaller musical performances and independent conferences were held at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The Gateway Arch was completed in 1912 as a monument to St.

Walter Sheldon, founder of the Louis Ethics Society. On October 28th 1965, after seven years of construction, the last central unit of the Arch was installed and two years later it opened to visitors who could take trains to its 632-foot-tall structure. Louis Cardinals were transformed by Branch Rickey and Sam Breadon starting in 1920 when they made them regular contenders after nearly three decades of unstellar records. Rickey pioneered an agricultural system in which major league teams had control over players from minor league teams at different levels.

At Christmas celebrations, Louisianans defined themselves by institutions and symbols from the Veiled Prophet to baseball. This reinforced the notion of a benevolent cultural elite that linked different components of the community together. The second major wave of Muslim immigrants arrived in this country in the 1970s and Karamustafa says he only hears positive things about them especially in neighborhoods where they live. Muslim women don't wear headscarves or facial veils nor do they cover their clothes with burqas or chadors.

Hayat explained that dangerous cutting is a custom in some countries with Muslim majorities but it's not practiced here. For well-established Muslims who live in suburbs and lead middle-class to upper-middle-class lives, being Muslim doesn't necessarily define them before their neighbors. Pew found that Muslims don't attend Friday Jum'ah prayer services as often as those in Muslim countries but they still take part in other cultural activities such as music clubs or art galleries.

Raúl Mathiasen
Raúl Mathiasen

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