Thursday, August 28, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Despite a long tradition of condemning homosexuality in Islam, Europe's first gay-friendly mosque opened last week in Paris. Similar efforts have also begun in the United States. Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed is the founder of the mosque.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
If you're traveling by taxi this summer, chances are your driver is hungrier than usual. Nearly half of licensed drivers in the city are Muslim—and they’re not eating because they’re observing Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and reflection. That means thousands of cabbies are working 12-hour shifts without food, water or caffeine.
Muslims break their daily fast at sundown. One recent evening, the West 29th Street curbside in Manhattan held so many taxis that the street glowed yellow. This commercial district in Manhattan has free evening parking, a boon for drivers.
Around 8 p.m., as the day's light faded, cabbies rushed into a mosque called Masjid Ar-Rhahman. A mountain of their shoes rose in the vestibule. Soon their sung prayers emanated from a loudspeaker at the top of the mosque. Outside, vendors selling prayer books and sweet treats waited patiently for the cabbies to emerge from inside.
Driver Lansana Keita was one of the first ones out. He smiled as he ate his first food of the day, a sweet rice concoction that resembled rice pudding. "You need something soft after fasting all day, to help your metabolism to digest,” he said.
Keita said his biggest obstacle during Ramadan is keeping up his stamina during a shift that typically features mind-numbing traffic, the threat of parking tickets and the never-ending drone of the TV in his backseat. He said driving on an empty stomach while dealing with the daily guff from passengers becomes a spiritual exercise.
"When someone cusses on you, you have to let it go," he said. "When someone wants to have drama with you, you have to let it go--those are the principles of Ramadan.”
Drivers who chose not to eat in the mosque huddled on the sidewalk in small groups to consume their long-awaited meals.
"I love this: it’s called pakora, samosa and chana,” said Mohammed Tipu Sultan, a driver of 10 years, about his Bangladeshi meal. Sultan made the food disappear in a hurry, like anyone would after fasting for 16 hours.
Driver Yehya Abdeen was on his way to get his first caffeine fix at a local cafe before resuming his night shift. He said a purpose of Ramadan is to teach patience—a trait city cabbies aren't always known for.
"I try to be nice all the time, but we try to be more nice during Ramadan," he said, before joking, "But it’s hard when you don't take your coffee, you know?"
During Ramadan, Muslims are required to pray more than the usual five times a day. So you may see drivers stopping to kneel in the direction of Mecca on squares of cardboard or small rugs in the back of bodegas and restaurants.
Or at JFK airport. At the airport's taxi lot, hundreds of drivers were lined up awaiting a fare to Manhattan. About two dozen drivers made use of a makeshift prayer area, bowing and kneeling next to a pair of public restrooms.
Tely Diallo, a tall driver in a gingham shirt, was about to jump into his cab again. He paused to complain that it’s hard to make enough money when you're pulling over to pray an extra two hours a day.
"You can't really do what you've got to do," he said. "You can't pray on time. I was supposed to be praying a long time ago but I couldn’t because you're always in a rush, you want to get the lease money."
Cabbie Mohammed Waheed said it helps that so many other drivers are fasting with him during the holy month. "The fifteen of my friends who are cab drivers—they all fast," he said.
Muslims, including many New York taxi drivers, will be observing Ramadan this year until the weekend of August 18, when the fasting ends and the completion of a month of self-control is celebrated.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The developers of the Islamic community center near Ground Zero will open the controversial space to the public for the first time Wednesday night. The community center will showcase a 169-image photo exhibition by Danny Goldfield entitled “NYChildren” in the newly renovated space.
Monday, August 01, 2011
Despite the worldwide controversy that erupted last year over Sharif El-Gamal’s plan to develop a mosque and Muslim cultural center near the World Trade Center site, El-Gamal is spearheading a new effort to make the proposal a reality.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
About 120 demonstrators gathered in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, to protest a proposed mosque that opponents argue will dramatically alter the quality of life in the neighborhood. The protest, organized by about 80 supporters of the mosque, was within shouting distance of a counter-protest and drew locals and nationally prominent critics of Islam.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Mosques around the city are opening their doors to those interested in learning about the Muslim faith this week. More than 40 leaders from the five boroughs kicked off the "Week of Dialogue" at Brooklyn's Mosque At-Taqwa on Monday.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Just when we were led to believe getting a mosque built in New York was guaranteed to cause controversy, here's an article in the Brooklyn Eagle that says otherwise. This $2 million project in Brighton Beach, meant to serve a community of about 5,000 Turkish-Americans, is set to be Brooklyn's largest mosque, but hasn't generated opposition:
After nearly a decade of fundraising and construction, the four-story American-Turkish Eyup Sultan Cultural Center on Brighton Third Street is scheduled to officially open in early December.
The mosque opened temporarily in August for Ramadan, and unlike the controversial Ground Zero cultural center, received very little attention. The Turkish cultural center also escaped the scrutiny of the Bay People, the Sheepshead Bay organization that has feverishly protested a proposed mosque on Voorhies Avenue.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The developers behind Park51, the Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, have been conspicuously low-key about the project. But they've finally given us a slightly better sense of what they're planning, with the release of 3 renderings: one exterior shot and two interiors. All in all, the images suggest a highly contemporary visual aesthetic, dominated by an outer shell that could best be termed web-like or exoskeletal. The architectural firm is Soma.
Monday, September 20, 2010
National and local Muslim leaders held a one-day summit on Park 51 Monday, voicing support for the proposed mosque and Islamic community center. The group released a statement, saying its signatories "stand for the constitutional right of Muslims, and Americans of all faiths, to build houses of worship anywhere in our nation as allowed by local laws and regulations."
Monday, September 13, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
By Stephen Nessen : Reporter, WNYC News
The issue of whether or not there should be an Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center is one of the most politically contentious issues of this election season. The opinions of New York's public figures run the gamut from strong support to solid opposition.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Both supporters and opponents of the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero plan to take to the streets this weekend as Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.
The proposed development, known as Park51, has brought about significant controversy in New York City and across the country.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
This summer, city-backed plans to build an interfaith community center and mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero sparked an international debate. Although there are nuances to the arguments, one side clearly feels that building a mosque near the site of the September 11th attacks is an affront to the victims; on the other hand, supporters say that there is no reason to block the plans, beyond simple “Islamophobia.”
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
A group known as the Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York, aka the Islamic Leadership Council, braved the furious heat (remember, observant Muslims aren't even drinking water these days) and the questions of a sizable press contingent as they tried to reframe the story of the planned Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero.