Living in Tampa & meeting my diapora neighbors from around the globe, individuals from the Arab world have hailed from Tunisia, Libya, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Drive along N. 56th St. in Temple Terrace, a municipality in the Northeastern section of Tampa, or turn West from 56th St. and cruise along Busch Blvd. It’s not difficult to discover a thriving commercial presence of Arab businesses & entrepreneurs serving the community.
It’s difficult to find exact figures for the Arab Muslim population in Tampa, and some locals have said that this community has grown & expanding primarily over the past 10 years. However, there is no need to doubt that the Arab community in Tampa is large and dynamic. Some community estimates have suggested the number in the Tampa Bay area to be as high as 100,000, and what will be the largest mosque in the United States is being constructed in the Tampa area. Mosques dot the religious landscape of the city, from a small storefront on 30th down the street from Trinidadian Roti, a Turkish cafe, and African hair-braiding to a large campus of an Islamic center on the edge of town hosting a masjid, private school, health clinic, food pantry, and other services for the community.
If you love Arab peoples and desire to be a bridge for good news, Tampa may be your mission field. If you have returned from the Middle East and hope to continue making disciples, make Tampa one of your stops on your mission survey trip in North America. If you have a heart for unreached peoples in the Middle East, the workers are few in the mission field of Tampa Bay.