“We are in those parts of the African American community where a lot of people wouldn’t venture and the communities that we’re in appreciate us being there,” he said. “They have this perception that we represent the best in them.”
Najee-ullah converted to Islam at the height of the Civil Rights movement. In the years since, the Muslim population of the United States has grown and diversified, fueled by immigration. But as Islamic worship centers move into the suburbs and rural areas, they can face backlash from opponents citing everything from insufficient parking to alleged plots to take over the country and impose Sharia law. Meanwhile, community leaders say mosques help confront Islamophobia on the one hand, and radicalization on the other.