Muslim Community Network
Stories of Impact
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack here in New York City, Muslim communities endured a rise in hate crimes, while nationally, the complexity of Muslim America was often reduced to harmful stereotypes.
For the past 20 years, Muslim Community Network (MCN) has worked to undo this damage while developing a collective voice for Muslim Americans.
“Our mission is to shape the narrative for Muslim Americans and provide an accurate depiction of the Muslim American experience,” explained Husein Yatabarry, MCN’s Executive Director, adding that MCN’s founders wanted to “make sure there was an organization that reflected the voice of all Muslim Americans [regardless of] any specific nationality or race or gender.”
MCN has since created a vast ecosystem of support for Muslim New Yorkers, spanning civic leadership development, community education, and community service. Most importantly, these programs are offered in people’s native tongues – Bangla, Urdu, Wolof, Sonike, and more.
Brooklyn Org is one of our biggest contributors. Brooklyn is home to so many Muslims that we rely on to have that collaboration and that connection.Husein Yatabarry, Executive Director
Muslim Community Network’s intentionality and inclusivity is accompanied by a desire to empower the most vulnerable in its communities. MCN’s Muslim Women’s Civic Empowerment Program (MWCEP) works with over 60 women a year on city governance and politics to help them start civic projects in their own districts, and get the backing of elected officials willing to bring their projects to life. In addition to this program, Brooklyn Org’s support has also backed Muslim Community Network’s safety trainings, voting rights workshops, voter canvassing, and immigrants rights classes.
In many ways, MCN functions as a bridge between different community partners – a bridge which Brooklyn Org has helped strengthen with our funding. “Brooklyn Org is one of our biggest contributors,” Yatabarry said. “Brooklyn is home to so many Muslims that we rely on to have that collaboration and that connection.”
But it’s not just Muslim New Yorkers who benefit: Through their community education work, MCN speaks at workplaces, high schools, and colleges to share the rich history of Muslim Americans dating back to the 1600s and to challenge negative narratives.
As Muslim Community Network continues to strengthen and grow, Yatabarry is determined to make sure that the most overlooked Muslim Americans are given proper attention and resources. “As a Black African Muslim, I think my community faces a different set of circumstances. We have the Muslim American experience, but we also have the Black American experience,” Yatabarry shared. Because of this, he wants “to make sure our experience is being shared in its totality.”
To this end, The New Moon Initiative provides faith, wellness and workforce development to Muslim youth at juvenile detention centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx. In the long term, Yatabarry also dreams about creating a central Muslim cultural center that truly showcases the deep histories and diversity of Muslim Americans: “I’m just really excited to get more initiatives off the ground that tell all sides of the Muslim American story that people don’t really think about.”