…to Muslims in Brooklyn,  a website created by Brooklyn Historical Society.

For well over a century, Muslims have lived, worked and prayed in Brooklyn, making it a major center of Muslim life for New York City and the nation. Yet, a gap in knowledge and understanding exists between many Muslims and non-Muslims throughout America. This gap, sadly, has led to the marginalization and erasure of Muslim histories and experiences from our national life. In 2017, Brooklyn Historical Society launched Muslims in Brooklyn, a three-year, multi-faceted public history project designed to amplify the stories of Brooklyn’s Muslim communities and contextualize those stories in the broader history of the borough, the city, and beyond.

An illustration of 6 people wearing white, each has a welcome expression representing the Muslims in Brooklyn project. Illustrated characters from left to right: brown skin male presenting with short curly hair and a button up fancy shirt, light brown skin male presenting with glasses, t-shirt and Taqiyah (cap), honey skin female presenting with long wavy black hair, dark brown skin male presenting with thick eyebrows, and a short sleeved button up shirt, light skin non-binary presenting with glasses and short white hair, dark brown skin female presenting's side profile in a hoodie with a black hijab.

We believe that it is through the study of Brooklyn’s diverse local histories that we can truly understand our shared national heritage as a multiethnic, multiracial democracy. Brooklyn’s Muslim histories hold great resonance for national conversations on religious diversity and pluralism. The Muslims in Brooklyn collection on BHS’s Oral History Portal offers access to the full-length stories told by over 50 Brooklynites. The narrators, of all ages and backgrounds, including immigrants and first-generation Brooklyn Muslims, from Bangladesh, Egypt, and Puerto Rico, as well as Brooklynites, cover a broad range of topics. Community leaders, spiritual leaders and others helped recruit participants and ensured that we appreciate the breadth and diversity of experiences.

3 people, stylized as icons, standing for love, 2 hold signs with a single heart, the person in the middle wears a hijab and a long dress.

Muslims in Brooklyn are a diverse people.

This Muslims in Brooklyn website was designed to provide a particular kind of listening experience. This site offers shorter, curated oral history clips that have been gathered thematically and designed to encourage you, the listener, to make connections between and among the stories. Additionally, for teachers, we have provided structured lessons and resources that can be easily downloaded for use in K-12 and college classrooms. With the help of many contributors and feedback from visitors to our galleries and workshops, we have designed a website that is flexible and easy to use. Whether you are curious about similarities and differences in Muslim traditions, interested in particular periods of Brooklyn history, want to know more about specific neighborhoods, or you just want to browse, the website allows you to explore and discover.  

A globe beneath a large spyglass, styled in an icon.

Muslims in Brooklyn have a long history.

Recording the voices of today’s and yesterday’s Brooklynites is just one of the ways that BHS fulfills its mission to make the vibrant history of Brooklyn tangible, relevant, and meaningful for today’s diverse communities, and for generations to come.  We hope you will find this newest addition to our collection inspiring.  

This project represents the efforts of a tremendous team of talented people, all of whom are acknowledged on our “Thank You” page. I thank them all for their dedication and creativity, with particular thanks to Zaheer Ali, Director of the Muslims in Brooklyn project. His vision is at the core of this effort, and Brooklyn Historical Society owes him a great debt of gratitude. 

Deborah Schwartz, President and CEO
Brooklyn Historical Society
July 2020

An icon of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Muslims in Brooklyn are Brooklynites.