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NYC struggle to support migrants during Ramadan, Bronx imam converts mosque to shelter

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In the heart of New York City, amidst the bustling streets and towering skyscrapers, mosques are grappling with the challenge of accommodating and nourishing migrants during the sacred month of Ramadan.

As the city’s diverse immigrant population continues to grow, these Islamic institutions are feeling the strain of providing for those in need, especially as the latest immigration surge enters its third year this spring.

One such example is found in the Bronx, where an imam has taken a bold step to address the pressing issue.

In an act of compassion and solidarity, the imam has transformed the very walls of his mosque into a refuge for migrants, predominantly men hailing from his homeland of Senegal.

“We’re doing what we can do, but we can’t do everything. That’s the bottom line,” said Moussa Sanogo, assistant imam at the Masjid Aqsa-Salam in Harlem, just north of Central Park. “These brothers, they don’t eat enough. They’re starving when they get here. Can you imagine? Starving. In America.”

The mosque, once solely a place of worship, now serves as a makeshift shelter, providing much-needed respite for those seeking refuge in the city.

The decision to convert the mosque into a shelter underscores the dire circumstances faced by migrants in New York City.

With limited resources and a burgeoning migrant population, many Islamic institutions find themselves stretched thin, struggling to meet the growing demand for housing and sustenance.

The influx of migrants, coupled with the observance of Ramadan, amplifies the urgency of the situation, as fasting individuals require adequate provisions to break their fast during the evening hours.

Speaking on the challenges confronting mosques across the city, community leaders lament the strain on their resources and the difficulty of adequately supporting those in need.

Despite their best efforts, they acknowledge the limitations of their capacity, particularly in light of the ongoing immigration crisis.

As the holy month unfolds, the plight of migrants in New York City serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for compassion and solidarity.

While mosques endeavor to fulfill their duty of care, the broader community must also rally together to address the underlying issues driving migration and displacement.

In the face of adversity, the actions of the Bronx imam offer a glimmer of hope, demonstrating the power of unity and empathy in times of crisis.

Yet, as the city grapples with the complexities of immigration and integration, the road ahead remains fraught with challenges. Only through collective action and unwavering commitment can New York City truly live up to its reputation as a beacon of diversity and inclusion.

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