Do or die Bed-Stuy. Remember the mosque blasting Islamic call to prayer video on a Brooklyn street recently brought to light by the Logan’s Warning blog? There probably aren’t complaints about the noise because that section of Bedford-Stuyvesant is now Muslim.
The majority of Senegalese emigrants living in Bed-Stuy are practicing Muslims. Their religious experience here in Brooklyn is different than in Africa in a few important ways:
First, the Muslim community in Bed-Stuy bears a more universal character than it does in Senegal. While in Senegal, most Muslims consider their Sufi identity to be distinct from other forms of Islam, the Muslim population in Brooklyn generally consists of followers of the Sunni branch of Islam.
Secondly, Senegalese Muslims here are not connected to sheiks, spiritual leaders on an everyday basis. In Senegal, Muslims are members of Sufi orders known as brotherhoods which follow sheiks (also known as marabout).
Here, disciples still support their sheiks in Senegal by sending remittances to support the religious community back home. The main brotherhoods in Senegal are the Mourides, the Tijaniyyah, the Layene, and the Qadiriyya. In New York, most Senegalese emigrants are Mourides.
For example, Senegalese living in Bed-Stuy join Muslims from many other countries to pray at the well-known Masjid at Taqwa mosque, on Fulton St. at Bedford Ave. The mosque was founded in 1981 by its current Imam, Siraj Wahhaj, an American who was raised Christian and joined the Nation of Islam after converting in the late 1960s.
Siraj Wahhaj is an important leader in the Muslim community and nationally-known, said the receptionist for Masjid al Taqwa, Maajeida Adurrahman. Imam Wahhaj has given invocation at the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Muslim to do so.
Other mosques that Senegalese attend include the Jame Masjid Islamic Center at the intersection of Gates Avenue and Ralph Street, and Masjid Zawiyat on Franklin Avenue with Madison Street.
The Muslim community in Bed-Stuy is diverse, and Muslims living here hail from not only Senegal but also Guinea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Eastern Europe and the United States.
Masjid al Taqwa was founded by Siraj Wahhaj.
- Born as Jeffrey Kearse, was raised as a Baptist in New York City
- states Islam commands jihad of the true soldiers of Allah – listen to the Wahhaj speech
- advocates the replacement of the U.S. government with an Islamic Caliphate
- unindicted co-conspirator to the 1993 World Trade Center bombings
- called the most dangerous ‘Islamic Scholar’ in the U.S. in regards to our national security
- promoted Islamic ads on NYC subways to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary
- Keynote speaker at 2009 ICNA-MAS conference (Memorial Day weekend)
- More Siraj Wahhaj profiled at Discover the Networks