Muslim Brotherhood? Maybe.

Muslims NYT
Congregation heads (Dr. Faroque Khan on the left) James Estrin/The New York Times/

In yesterday’s feature “Between Black and Immigrant Muslims, an Uneasy Alliance,” the New York Times introduces us to members of the Islamic Center of Long Island and Imam Talib’s mosque in Harlem.

Their congregations share a religion but apparently, that’s about it.

The rift between immigrant and black (the piece calls this group “indigenous”) Muslims seems to have a lot to do with social class (but could flat-out racism be a factor as well?). The Center in Long Island attracts well-to-do desi, Arab and Turkish immigrants (“It is a place where BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes fill the parking lot, and Coach purses are perched along prayer lines”).

In Harlem, most of the Imam Talib congregants “get to the mosque by bus or subway, and warm themselves with space heaters in a drafty, brick building.”

The groups have historically kept to themselves. But post-September 11, they are understanding the value of cross-group coalition-building. “The more separate we stay, the more targeted we become,” says Dr. Faroque Khan, a pulmonologist and one of the co-founders of the Long Island mosque.

Of the estimated six million Muslims who live in the US today, about 34% are South Asian. Roughly 25% are black.

March 12, 2007
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