Project Captures Muslim Call to Prayer in Brooklyn

(Photo by Ateqah Khaki via Feet in 2 Worlds)

Artist Ateqah Khaki (Photo by Ateqah Khaki via Feet in 2 Worlds)

In contrast to mainstream media portrayals of the Muslim community, Brooklyn artist and activist Ateqah Khaki, 29, started “The Call to Prayer,” an online multimedia experience that uses video footage and audio clips to depict the ordinary lives of Muslims in Boerum Hill as the adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, sounds from the local mosque, Al-Farooq Masjid.

Carmel Pryor profiles the Muslim artist in a Feet in 2 Worlds piece, in which Khaki explains that she chose that particular mosque in the Brooklyn neighborhood because of its location.

(Photo by Ateqah Khaki via Feet in 2 Worlds)

Al-Farooq Masjid in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. (Photo by Ateqah Khaki via Feet in 2 Worlds)

“The mosque I recorded is five minutes from Target, the Barclays Center, and every single train that comes in to Atlantic Avenue. But there are also all of these Middle Eastern grocery stores, but then a Bank of America. The neighborhood really represents all of these different worlds that intersect,” she said.

Her multimedia project shows daily life unfolding during the call to prayer, using the sonic experience of the call to prayer to create a portrait of the city block where the mosque is located. She recorded how people in the community reacted when the call to prayer resounded throughout the neighborhood. It is customary for mosques to announce the call to prayer or the adhan five times a day as a reminder to those in the community to come to the mosque to pray.

“I am intrigued by the idea of depicting the mundane or every day or the ways in which Islam coexists in New York and this project is an example of that,” Ateqah adds.

The website lets visitors mix different audio recordings of the adhan and videos of the area, and play them simultaneously – with the purpose of creating awareness and dialogue of Islam, it immerses users in the sights and sounds of a Brooklyn neighborhood during a call to prayer.

Khaki, who is of Indian descent, decided to get involved in social justice after 9/11.

She explained that the hatred towards Muslims following 9/11 inspired her to work with lawyers that represented men held in Guantanamo Bay, who help challenge illegal surveillance of Muslim citizens, and work with the ACLU. It also inspired her as an artist.

“What influences me as an artist are really three things: caring, creating, and connecting…this is what ultimately led me to do this project,” said Ateqah.

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