Mother Mosque of America

The Mother Mosque of America, once known as The Rose of Fraternity Lodge, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States, is the oldest standing purpose-built mosque in the United States, having been completed in 1934.

The mosque was built by a local community of immigrants and their descendants from the Ottoman Empire, in what is now Lebanon and Syria. Construction was completed on February 15, 1934. The small structure served as a place of worship for Muslims for nearly 40 years. When a larger local mosque, the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, was built in 1971, the building was sold. Successive owners over the next 20 years allowed it to fall into disrepair.

In 1991, the Islamic Council of Iowa purchased the building, refurbished it and restored its status as a Muslim cultural center.

The Mother Mosque stands in a quiet neighborhood, flanked by houses on both sides, with a small marker off of First Avenue pointing the way to the site. Due to its small size, the majority of the Muslim population in Eastern Iowa and the Cedar Rapids area worship at other mosques, but the Mother Mosque remains a prominent center for information, prayer, and community.

The Mother Mosque is listed on both the Iowa State Historical Register and the National Register of Historic Places as an “essential piece of American religious history, which symbolizes tolerance and acceptance of Islam and Muslims in the United States.” It was listed on the National Register in 1996 as Moslem Temple.

Floods in June 2008 filled the mosque’s basement with 10 feet of water, resulting in the loss of the extensive collection of books, archival records, and artifacts stored there.