Demand for US-born imams up in American mosques

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The demand for American-born Muslim religious leaders is skyrocketing as mosques struggle to retain a new generation of American Muslims who were born and raised in the United States.

Imams who are born and raised in the U.S. and have completed intensive Islamic studies can command top dollar — up to $100,000, plus housing, in some instances — because they are so rare.

Meanwhile, mosques are working hard to come up with ways to make Islam relevant to the teenagers who are the children and grandchildren of the immigrants who brought the faith to America decades ago.

A 2011 survey of American Muslims found that 85 percent of fulltime, paid imams working in American mosques were foreign-born despite a boom in American mosques.

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