May 14, 2010 - travelogue    6 Comments

A Southerly Visit and Where should Muslims move to?

Last week I took a trip to visit my friend who lives in the North Carolina Raleigh-Durham area. I found the area to be very green with a lot of stately old trees and pines. They seem to be everywhere!  My friend said they might have some kind of law that everything has to be covered with trees. So houses are set back from the streets covered by trees, apartment developments are set inside gates surrounded by trees, even those little plazas with different stores are so covered by trees and shrubbery that you have no idea what could be inside! You can’t really get a feel for the real city life there which is why my friend doesn’t like it too much.

So I visited a local Mosque, the UNC Chapel Hill campus, some gardens near Duke University and attended a fundraiser for another local Mosque. The community seemed kinda Arab flavored but they had a number of Desi stores and restaurants. It seemed somewhat cultural because while I was in town they had a Turkish festival which was fun to attend. This area has what’s known as the Research Triangle, a corridor of huge high tech companies. This is what probably keeps it diverse and it also surprisingly had a large Hispanic population? Always good to have brown ppl around I say :) Everything seemed really nice but I still don’t think I’d want to live there.

The area where I live now in upstate New York is supposed to be diverse because of all the universities nearby and our proximity to New York City, but it isn’t. It has an overwhelmingly non-culture exploring white population. Which is fine, but having grown up here all my life I still feel “not welcome”, even when walking down my own street. The other MAJOR problem with this area is the weather: 9 months of brutal winter is truly hard to take.

I don’t really know what area is better for Muslims to live in. I think that country-wise the UK/Europe and Australia seem extremely racist and my father refused to settle in both those countries for that reason. The US does have a more open nature being a younger country and less into classicism, doesn’t really have a culture and is used to immigrants. Canada might actually be more diverse and open to immigrants.

In the US I think the NY, NJ area is out even though there are many Muslims the lasting bias of 9/11 has really affected morale, businesses and activity there. Moving South the DC area has a very vibrant young Muslim community but everyone is soo into politics there. Really, like even housewives that’s all they talk about!  I can’t really take that much political debate and whatnot lol. The Carolinas we covered. I think Atlanta is way too urban and South but it’s next on my list to visit so we’ll see. Florida is nice but no one wears clothes and seems like a lot of retired ppl. The Midwest’s big cities could be nice, depending on the communities but I think they mostly have the same problem of lack of diversity. Houston/TX area has their own culture which I think is really at odds with Muslims but they seem to tolerate us well enough. California I think has the naked ppl problem again, extreme beauty consciousness and earthquakes! but sounds like it’s a lot more diverse than anywhere else, has the high tech jobs, large Muslim populations and activities. I’ve heard its extremely expensive to live there though, but who knows. Another area that might be good is the Chicago area, which has a really explosive Desi population and numerous Mosques and schools.  Their winters though I’ve heard are pretty ugly too.

I really don’t know where Muslims should settle but I think exploring different areas is always good!

I took a number of beautiful nature pictures from the Duke Gardens and areas around the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill so check them out here: Gallery of Nature Pics from NC

Also, here are a couple pictures from my trip with more descriptions:

6 Comments

  • Salaam alaikum sister,

    I was a little surprised by your comments “the UK (and Australia) are extremely racists”. I’ve moved to the UK from France 17 yrs ago and I’ve always found that we, as muslim, have quite a lot of freedom here. Mind you, I live in London, in a borough with one of the biggest muslim community in the UK.
    But the funny thing is, to me and most of my friends, the US is a (very) racist country and we think we’re pretty lucky to live in England. How weird is that? Maybe I’ve gotta check the US out.
    Salaam.

  • wsalam maz,

    yes that’s very interesting that you don’t find it racist at all. i think with the US it’s mostly the area you live in and the people around you. you should definitely visit! i’ve been trying to plan a london trip for ages to visit my friends there, hopefully one day inshallah.

  • Dallas seems to be the new hotspot for Muslims now, at least as far as community builders and community energy goes.

    I liked Toronto too.

  • Jannah,

    There’s a decent muslim population in San Francisco (to the point that they’re running Islam advertisements on the sides of city buses). That said, CA is ridiculously expensive. San Diego is a fantastic place.

    I’ll also suggest Denver. There’s a large Libyan population there, and CO is a fantastic state, low taxes, decent job population (or it used to be, before the economic downturn) and winters are present, but not obnoxious.

  • salaam sis nice blog… just want to throw my pennies in.
    I grew up and lived in nj all my life. theres a big muslim community near me. some years ago I moved to the northern part of uk and found the ummah strongly united it was a pleasure seeing niqabis all over and men with beards something u dont see here .. well in my area. I found the non muslim brits to be well mannered and tolerant to Muslims. Maybe that might not be the case all the time.

    Allah Hafiz … A.L.

  • salam..i do love reading yr blog..interesting..full of knowledge..i also forward your link about this topic to my mum..and she love it..so do other topics..share it with my sisters..its a good knowledge for us..tq.. :)