New York City is home to an estimated 600,000 Muslims. Columbia University’s Middle East Institute makes this estimate, and reports that the Muslim community is one of the fastest growing in NYC. Islam goes by the lunar calendar, and is currently in its 9th month; Ramadan.
Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a month where Muslims fast, pray, ask for forgiveness, and practice restraint. The other pillars are; declaring the oneness of God (the Shahada), praying five times a day, giving charity, and going to Mecca at least once in life (finances permitting).
As the Islamic community thrives in the city, over 96 mosques can be found across the boroughs. With different cultural, social, and political experiences of practicing their faith, many New York Muslims have had different experiences with fasting.
What does Ramadan mean to people who live in city saturated with different beliefs? How do Muslims navigate a space which is constantly challenging their restraint? And how do they reconcile the lifestyle of the city, with their lives as Muslims in this month of fasting?