West Africans in the Bronx Seek a Larger Masjid Site

Worshippers pray in front of Masjid Ebun Abass in Mott Haven. (Photo by Christine Brink via Mott Haven Herald)

Worshippers pray in front of Masjid Ebun Abass in Mott Haven. (Photo by Christine Brink via Mott Haven Herald)

Muslims in the South Bronx are searching for a site for a new mosque. The Masjid Ebun Abass at which they worship, at East 141st Street and Alexander Avenue, is so overcrowded that some worshippers pray on the sidewalk outside the mosque, reports Christine Brink in Mott Haven Herald. Growth in the West African Muslim population in the Bronx seems to explain the overcrowding.

It’s like this every single Friday,” Imam Braimah Jallo said. “We are looking for a bigger place. It’s not easy, but we pray as much as we can.”

According to the Association of Religion’s data archives, the number of Muslims in Bronx County more than tripled—from 12,164 to 38,506—between 2000 and 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Much of the congregation at Masjid Ebun Abass hails from countries in West Africa, reflecting an immigration trend taking place across the area. The percentage of West Africans in the South Bronx more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, from 3.1 percent of the foreign-born population, to 6.5 percent, according to the US census’ American Community Survey.

Congregants hope to be able to buy rather than rent a new location for a mosque, which they hope can accommodate as many as 400 worshippers at a time, rather than the 200 who now crowd the masjid. Go to Mott Haven Herald to read what other benefits a large space might confer on the community.

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