LivingTravelMuslim Immigrant Communities in Brooklyn: From Egypt to Pakistan

Muslim Immigrant Communities in Brooklyn: From Egypt to Pakistan

Census data is not available on the origin nations of Brooklyn immigrants. Therefore, it would be difficult to quantify the number of Brooklyn residents who came from, say, Egypt, Yemen, or Pakistan.

Based, then, on community mosque centers, halal butchers, and specialty religious stores, here’s an anecdotal list of some of Brooklyn’s largest Muslim immigrant communities:

  • Bay Ridge – An influx of Muslim immigrants since the 1990s has given rise to a strong Muslim community in Bay Ridge. This once largely Irish neighborhood now has mosques, halal butchers, halal restaurants, and Muslim educational institutions. The Bay Ridge Islamic Society, which offers classes, religious celebrations and community forums, is located in Bay Ridge.
  • Boerum Hill – On Atlantic Avenue, across from the Atlantic Terminal subway station, is the Al Farooq Mosque (also known as Masjid al-Farooq). Adjacent to the mosque are several shops that specialize in religious texts, men’s and women’s clothing, incense, perfumes, and religious objects.
  • Cobble Hill – Also on Atlantic Avenue, but close to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, it’s one block from Middle Eastern food shops and restaurants. Many, including the well-known Sahadi’s food emporium, are of Arab Christian heritage and have been elements of the neighborhood for decades. These bakeries, restaurants, and specialty food stores cater to a largely non- Muslim clientele from the nearby gentrified neighborhoods of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, among others.
  • Flatbush: Flatbush is very ethnically diverse. It is home to the Makki Masjid and Muslim Community Center, a hub of Pakistani life in New York City. This mosque is in the center of several blocks of shops that serve the Muslim population. Visitors will also notice the colorful signs in Arabic script in the barbershop, sari shop, and jewelry stores. Nearby are the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods; The proximity of the Muslim and Jewish religious communities has been covered by the world media.
  • Students in various educational institutions in Brooklyn: The Brooklyn numerous educational institutions attract students from all religions, and multiple religions. In particular, Brooklyn College has an active student body of first-generation immigrants and Muslims that includes, according to local newspapers, a Palestinian student club at Brooklyn College.
  • Kensington : This section of the Brooklyn area is known, simply, because Flatbush is home to many Muslim immigrants, whose daily needs are met by the clothing stores, food stores, and small restaurants that line Coney Island Avenue.
  • Greenwood Heights and Sunset Park: Sunset Park, though primarily Chinese and Latino, is also home to a vibrant Muslim community. Al-Noor School, a private coeducational school, is located in the southern part of Park Slope and Sunset Park in an area that realtors have renamed Greenwood. Opened in 1995, this school is the largest Islamic school in New York City. Located in Sunset Park proper is the Fatih Camii Mosque, a Turkish mosque built in 1980 on a site that years ago was an Irish and Norwegian dance club. The tile work inside is beautiful.

Brooklyn has prided itself on being home to a widely diverse population of people from around the world. The Muslim community is one of many that contribute to the vibrant and ethnically authentic nature of Brooklyn, NY.

Resources

  • An award-winning New York Times series about a Brooklyn imam who has since moved to the suburbs: Muslims in America , written by Andrea Elliott (2006)
  • A report, American Muslims: Mainly Ordinary Middle Class’, by Pew Charitable Trust (2007)
  • Arab American Association of New York

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