On Vernor Highway, just before the border with Detroit, there looms a large worn edifice that is home to the American Moslem Society in Dearborn.  On a sunny warm April day kids are playing along the dim quiet hallways inside.  They have left their shoes at the entrance.  One can hear the voices of children in religion class downstairs.  Outside there is an expanse of patchy fields, potholed parking lots and cars lined along the wide avenue.

Arabic lettering covers store front awnings and food markets are busy up and down the street.  Women in hijabs hop in and out of stores and stop to chat with each other along the roadside.  Children run about, some hiding behind their mothers robes while men stroll along the sidewalk ignoring the scene.

Serenity is the fruit of an industrious immigrant community; a people that have integrated well into the metropolitan Detroit area.

Over one hundred years earlier, Lebanese Christians came, seeking employment in the assembly lines of the Ford Motor Company.  They were later joined by more immigrants of Arabic descent.

Iraqi, Yemeni, Palestinians and others came and settled: now mostly followers of Islam.  The thirty thousand plus Arab Americans of Dearborn have found a way to coexist with other Metro-Detroiters while maintaining their customs and a close communal bond.  The call to prayer rings out each Friday in the south and eastern of parts of town.

“Muslims of the US look to the Muslims of the Metropolitan Detroit area as a wonder of accomplishment.” believes Mr. Eide Alawan of the Islamic Center of Michigan.

Comprising nearly a third of the population, Dearborn holds the highest concentration of Arabs of any city outside the Middle East.  This strong, vibrant and growing community is a model for the peaceful coexistence of different cultures.

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