A ‘Muslims in Brooklyn’ Oral History Project

Muslims praying. (Photo by Zainab Iqbal via Bklyner)

The Brooklyn Historical Society will unveil its “Muslims in Brooklyn” oral history project next week after a year of research and interviews, reports Bklyner’s Zainab Iqbal. She spoke to Zaheer Ali, the oral historian at the BHS, who said that the 50 people featured in the collection, of varying ages, occupations and origins, “are not representative of Muslims in Brooklyn.” Rather, “they are indicative of Muslims” in the borough.

When he first started out at the BHS in April 2015, he wanted to work on three projects, one of them being on Muslims in Brooklyn.

He thought about the anti-Muslim bias in the country and “the polarized discourse around Muslims appearing in the presidential campaign.” He thought now, more than ever, “was an opportunity for us to challenge the portrayal of Muslims being used to fuel anti-Muslim bias.”

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He’s also proud that the stories would be archived. “These are not segregated Muslim voices. We’re putting them in an archive with a mix of other collections. We understand how important Muslims have been, and are, to the history of Brooklyn.”

How did Ali and his team choose the 50 people? What themes emerged during the interviewing process? Find out at Bklyner, which also has details on the listening party to present “Muslims in Brooklyn.”

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