It may be one of the fastest growing religions in the world, but in the U.S., it’s a challenge for converts to Islam to learn about their new faith. Muslims are a minority here, with estimates of the population ranging from 2 million to 6 million, and they often come together in small groups to learn what they can and cannot do as practicing Muslims.
Some of the questions new Muslims have can be as complex as the “meaning of life” or as simple as owning a dog or hanging a photo in their home. Many Muslims regard dogs as unclean, and there are rules about whether you can own one. Whether Muslims can hang a picture depends on if it has any spiritual meaning.
Imam Johari Abdul Malik is the outreach director for a mosque in Falls Church, Va. He heads a meeting at Howard University for a half-dozen men who come every week looking for answers Muslims in other countries would normally get from their sheik or spiritual adviser.