New York’s Muslim Geography, from Apartment Mosques to Prayers in the Street
By Aaron Leaf
DECEMBER 18, 2014
On a bustling block of Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, a small Muslim congregation meets inside a converted second floor apartment above a hair salon. Within earshot of the call to prayer broadcast five times daily from the roof of the much larger At Taqwa Mosque down the street, the meeting place is free of furniture other than wall-to-wall prayer rugs and a few cushions. While At Taqwa announces its presence from a distance, this mosque prefers privacy. With no sign on the door and meetings held mainly at night when its members are off work, it can only be found if you know to ask.
The two Fulton Street mosques offer contrasting faces of Islam in New York, hinting at the many ways Muslim immigrants approach their faith in a country that can, at times, seem hostile to the practice. The two congregations also represent contradictory tendencies in immigrant life, one committed to sustaining religious and cultural practices brought from back home, and another more intent on forging a new Muslim-American identity.