Nearly 200 Brooklynites Join Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for Second Annual Ramadan Iftar at Borough Hall

Published by Marshall Byler on

Evening of Prayer and Traditional Foods From Plov to Samsa Brings Brooklyn’s Muslim Community Together in Observance of the Holiest Month of the Year


BROOKLYN, NY (April 10, 2023) – Last Wednesday, nearly 200 Brooklynites joined Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for his second annual Ramadan iftar at Borough Hall. In honor of Brooklyn’s diverse Muslim communities, the evening brought together Imams, community advocates, and local leaders from all over the borough representing communities across the world. Following remarks from the Borough President and special guests, Imam Abdulkarim Samarkandiyand Imam Siraj Wahhaj gave the call to prayer and were joined by hundreds of Brooklynites in observance of Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslim communities. A sit-down dinner featuring Uzbek plov, samsa, dates, and plenty more traditional foods followed prayers. Umar Usman, Special Aide to the Borough President, represented Brooklyn’s Pakistani Muslim community as the night’s MC. The iftar was sponsored by The Silk Road Foundation, and the Council of People’s Organization (COPO) provided prayer rugs for the event.

“Our Muslim community unites in peace and love an incredible diversity of cultures, stories, and heritage right here in our beautiful borough of Brooklyn. It was my honor to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan at our second annual iftar dinner alongside so many of our neighbors,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “The marks our Muslim Brooklynites have made on this borough reach far back in time. In fact, one of the oldest mosques in the United States lives right here in Brooklyn – the Powers Street Mosque, which was founded back in the 1930s – resides in my old Council District. This legacy of light and love continues to grow with each day, reaching from Bay Ridge to Sunset Park, Coney Island, and all the neighborhoods in which our Muslim neighbors reside. Ramadan Mubarak, Brooklyn. May you all enjoy a life full of peace and blessings.”

Imam Abdulkarim Samarkandiy, a prominent Imam for the Uzbek community in Brooklyn, and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, the Imam of Masjid At-Taqwa in Bed-Stuy, joined together for the iftar’s religious program. Imam Siraj Wahhaj has played an important role in the communities he’s served, including initiating anti-drug patrol in Brooklyn in 1988 and delivering the first Islamic invocation to the United States Congress. Remarks throughout the evening were delivered by:

  • Somia El-Rowmeim, a Yemeni-American organizer, educator, and advocate who is deeply committed to promoting human rights, justice, and women’s empowerment.

Somia has founded a number of organizations, including the Union of Arab Women, the first Arab women political club in New York City led by women after the election of President Trump, and The Women’s Empowerment Coalition of NYC, which is based in Bay Ridge.

  • Marwa Janini, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York.

A multilingual Palestinian-Latina Muslim American, Janini brings a passion that is unmatched to her activism, whether it’s providing much-needed services to immigrant communities in New York City or working with Syrian Refugees in the Syrian-Turkey Border.

  • Muhammad Bahi, the current Senior Muslim Liaison to Mayor Eric Adams.

Bahi has been doing community work for the past 15 years and founded numerous organizations such as Muslims Giving Back, MCC, Asiyah Womens Center, Mercy Bakery, Freedom Bakeries, Janazah Community Services, and the Hunger Truck.

  • Ahsan Chughtai, the current Senior Advisor to Mayor Eric Adams on South Asian and Muslim Affairs.

Chughtai has been a longtime Pakistani civic and community leader in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Midwood.

  • Igor Sterenko, the Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Silk Road Foundation.

During the evening celebration, Borough President Reynoso honored two individuals and two organizations, including:

  • Dr. Salman Haq, a cardiologist who did the bulk of his medical training in Brooklyn in Methodist Hospital and then went on to open his cardiology practice in Brooklyn, giving back to his community and making sure people had access to care. Last week, his brother and Methodist’s CEO received the posthumous recognition on Dr. Haq’s behalf.
  • One of New York’s best, Farooq Muhammad, who’s served in the FDNY at different ranks of the Bureau’s EMS for 27 years. Rising to become Division Chief, Farooq has served as a first responder to some of our city’s tragic emergencies, including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, and the Twin Parks fire in the Bronx.
  • Masjid At-Taqwa, an Islamic organization serving the Bed-Stuy community and beyond. Started from a living room on Hancock Street and now sitting independently on Fulton and Bedford, Masjid At-Taqwa become famous in January 1988 with 40 days of 24-hour community patrol in partnership with NYPD to help shut down buildings home to illegal drug use along Fulton Street, taking back its community.
  • The Silk Road Foundation, founded by Tolib Mansurov and the sponsor of Borough President Reynoso’s iftar, carries a commitment to serve the public interest by providing support and assistance to individuals and families who have migrated to the United States. The Silk Road Foundation provides critical services to individuals, including legal aid, housing support, job training, access to healthcare, and language classes.


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