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Often forgotten Muslim heritage in Iowa

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

While the majority of immigration to the U.S. during the 19th and early 20th century was Anglo-Saxon, people from what are now Syria and Lebanon made their way to the Midwest. Many settled in Cedar Rapids, which is home to the oldest surviving mosque in North America, the Mother Mosque of America.

On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Edward Curtis — author of Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest — to unpack this history.

Later, Ihsan Yaseen is the principal of the AlRazi Academy, the only full-time Islamic school in Iowa. She speaks with Nebbe about how the school serves as a bridge for immigrant families as they adjust to American culture.

Guests:

  • Edward Curtis, author of Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest, Plater Chair of Liberal Arts at Indiana University
  • Ihsan Yaseen, principal of AlRazi Academy
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.