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CULTURE ⎯⎯⎯⎯ 4 MARCH 2017






The first Muslims in New York City date back to the 17th century, and the first small, short-lived Islamic prayer room appears to have opened in 1893, near Madison Square Park. When researchers from the blog A Journey Through N.Y.C. Religions set out to count every mosque in the five boroughs in 2015, they found 285, up from 175 just five years earlier. Muslims, in all their diversity, are a longstanding and hardy part of New York life.

That diversity runs through a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York called “Muslim in New York: Highlights From the Photography Collection,” which gathers the work of four photographers taken from the 1940s to the present. Like many developments in these early days of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, the exhibition came together in a hurry, said Whitney Donhauser, the museum’s director (two weeks, to be exact).

“We believe in looking at history or art to understand what’s happening in current times,” Ms. Donhauser said. “And we wanted to show the importance of this community within the overall fabric of New York City. It shows that there are people in the city who have everyday lives and contribute to the vibrancy of New York City.”

The images avoid the exoticism that sometimes colors photographs of cultural practices, and are striking less for their shared traits than for their differences: the Pakistani boys improvising a cricket field in a Brooklyn park and the highly formal mother of a Palestinian groom sternly guarding the wedding cakes while her daughter-in-law lights up the room, her head jeweled and uncovered; the young women honing their karate skills; men bowing in prayer before the annual Muslim Day parade, which livens up Madison Avenue every September. For all their differences they have one thing in common: New York would not be the same without them.

By The New York Time

Pictures : Museum of the City of New York

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