A Burger King Turned Temporary Mosque in Brooklyn

While waiting for their new mosque to be finished, Sam Huissain, left, and Kasem Alesaei warm up by a heater in a space that used to be a Burger King. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

While waiting for their new mosque to be finished, Sam Huissain, left, and Kasem Alesaei warm up by a heater in a space that used to be a Burger King. (Photo: Alex Ellefson/Sheepshead Bites)

In the summer of 2014, Sheepshead Bay reported that a group of Muslims in Sheepshead Bay had rented out an abandoned Burger King as a place for worship during the holy month of Ramadan while awaiting completion of their mosque. The congregation expected the wait to last only a couple of months but now, in January of 2016, they’re still at the former Burger King, Alex Ellefson reports in a follow-up story.

When the congregation first proposed the construction of the mosque in 2010, they were met with pushback from the local community “who feared the prayer house could become a breeding ground for radical terrorists,” writes Ellefson.

Allowey Ahmed, one of the directors for the Muslim American Society in Sheepshead Bay, said he believes the brunt of the controversy is behind them. “There are always those who have that hate. But even those who hate us, we try to prove that we are as good or better Americans than they are,” he said.

Ahmed said completion of the mosque keeps being postponed because of unexpected costs and hurdles required to obtain a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Buildings (DOB). The congregation has to keep scraping together money from its members in order to complete another inspection or hire another contractor. Everything has to be done right, Ahmed explained, so that no one can take away their mosque.

Ellefson takes a look at the new mosque and speaks to more members of the congregation. Go to Sheepshead Bites to read his full story.

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