After seven long months without a holy house, a Harlem imam and his 1,500 followers have found a new home in El Barrio. Imam Souleimane Konate of Masjid Aqsa Mosque and his congregants were booted out of their house of prayer on Frederick Douglass Blvd. and W. 116th St. in October.
Their prayers have been answered.
After seven long months without a holy house, a Harlem Imam and his 1,500 followers have found a new home in El Barrio.
“I was always confident and positive that this day would come that we could have a new house in Harlem for the congregation to worship,” said Imam Souleimane Konate of Masjid Aqsa Mosque.
He and his congregants were booted out of the house of prayer on Frederick Douglass Blvd. near W 116th St. — their home for more than 15 years — last October after a rent dispute with the building’s landlord.
The staunch man of the cloth dished out $14,000 Thursday to rent two floors in the three-story Cafe Teatro Julia de Burgos building, on E. 115th St. near Madison Ave.
Longtime member Fanta Sylla was so thrilled by the news that she danced.
“I was so happy,” she said. “We’ve been waiting for this for almost eight months.”
Konate’s previous landlord, Joseph Rabizadeh, has said he wants to put up a residential complex where the former mosque and five other shuttered businesses were located. It would be a familiar sight along Frederick Douglass Blvd., which is home to rows of newly built high-rent apartments.
Konate said he was turned down by other Harlem landlords who preferred renting to a restauranteur or housing fancy condos to a mosque.
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