Early Muslim Immigrants to Kansas City

In the early 1970s a small community of Muslim immigrant professionals settled in Kansas City. But they were not the first Muslim immigrants in Kansas City. Before them there was Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who visited Kansas City in 1945. His visit resulted in establishment of a major hub of Saudi Airlines in Kansas City in later years. Another visitor was Mr. Liaquat Ali, the prime Minister of Pakistan, who stayed for a few days with a family here in Kansas City. He addressed a student crowd at UMKC in 1950.

In 1973-1975, Masjid Omar was still called “Muhammad Temple #30” and it had not adopted mainstream Islam yet. So initially some of the professional immigrants of the 70’s met at an empty apartment in mid-town for their Eid celebration. Later they held weekly Sunday meetings at Common Ground, a community center owned by the Kansas City Mennonite Church, at 40th Avenue and Rainbow Street. As part of their vision, the group decided to establish an umbrella organization and named it the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City.

In the early 1980s they purchased a four-acre parcel of land in South Kansas City to build a mosque that opened its doors to all Muslims in March of 1981. The center is located at 8501 E. 99th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City and the Muslim community in Columbia, Missouri jointly purchased a second piece of land for a Muslim cemetery which would serve Missouri and surrounding states.  In 1989 the community established a full-time Islamic school.

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