All cities change, and New York is no exception. While scholars continue to debate the impact of gentrification on places like Harlem, few are discussing its suburbanization or the process by which the city is losing its heterogeneity and becoming one big shopping mall. African Muslims and other community members appear to be under siege, as thousands of poor and working-class residents are forced to leave Harlem for more affordable neighborhoods. With the area’s increased commercialization, where sex sells the most mundane products, African Muslims are engaged in a jihad, or struggle, to maintain their Islamic values and ethics. This chapter explores how the average street merchant and his patrons, debating a series of conspiracy theories, struggle against professed racism and how African Muslims grapple with the meaning of freedom and democracy in America.
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