There’s a building at 104 Powers Street in Williamsburg, an inconspicuous row house just around the corner from the rooftop bars, art galleries and coffee shops near the Lorimer L stop on Metropolitan Avenue. White clapboard slats, sloping roof. Look closer, and there’s a discreet, white turret topped with a crescent. If no one had pointed it out, you wouldn’t know you were walking past North America’s oldest surviving mosque.
The mosque in Ivje, Belarus in September, 2018. Many of the families that are members of a historic mosque in Brooklyn, New York can trace their roots back to Ivje. A group of American Lipka Tatars took a trip to Poland, Lithuania and Belarus to rediscover their ancestry.
Ryan Schuessler/The World
“Happy new year, everyone.”
Marion Sedorowitz is standing in the narrow aisle as the accelerating train turns the Polish countryside into a blur of brown and green.
Aisha Ratkewitch, sitting with her grandson in her lap, glances up at Marion. “What do you mean?”
“Today is Islamic New Year,” Marion replies.
Ellen Lebitz, turning away from another conversation, interjects: “It’s also the 17th anniversary of 9/11.”
Marion sighs. “I hate when that happens.”
Ryan Scheussler is a journalist that traveled with members of M.M. Inc on our Tatar Heritage Tour 2018. He has written this article recounting the trip. Tor read more, please follow the link below: