The history of the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association (MHIA) can be traced back to the early 1960s, when there were only a very few Muslims in the Hudson Valley. The 1970s and 80s saw an influx of Muslim families into the region, including conversion to Islam, thus increasing the population from a few professionals and college students, to people from all walks of life. Early on, local Muslims got together in the basements of peoples homes to pray or hold weekly classes. This resulted in the formation of the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association. As the number of Muslim families grew, the MHIA worked towards building a Masjid which would not only be big enough to hold prayer gatherings, but could also serve as a center for community activities. In 1990 MHIA achieved the goal of building a Masjid in Wappinger Falls, establishing an Islamic Sunday school, and creating space for a Muslim community hall. More recently MHIA has been actively working with other religious organizations to enhance interfaith harmony, as well as reaching out to other community organizations and participating in every aspect of American life. Just as Islam is represented by people from every corner of the globe, this diversity is also reflected in the Muslim population of the Mid-Hudson Valley. While, the majority of the Muslims in Dutchess County are from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the Middle East, there is a large and growing number of Muslims who are African-American. There is also a small number of Muslims who represent other ethnic or national backgrounds, such as, Asians, Europeans or Africans.
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