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Guide to the Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018.006

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Elena Locascio

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 13, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Revised by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated access restrictions.  , April 2019

Container List

Oral History Interview with Rodney Adib Rashid, August 14, 2018

Biographical / Historical

Rodney Adib Rashid was born in 1955 in Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands. His family moved to Brooklyn two years later. He embraced the Nation of Islam in the early 1970s and adopted Warith Deen Mohammed's reforms to the tradition following Elijah Muhammad's death in 1975. He attended Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1980s, becoming the mosque's imam in 1989. Under his leadership, the mosque emphasized community outreach and education, including holding Eids in Prospect Park; improving the safety of the neighborhood around Masjid Khalifah; and opening the Clara Muhammad of Masjid Khalifah school, which was run by his wife Darlene Bashir (interviewed for this collection on September 10, 2018).

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Rodney Adib Rashid discusses growing up on the island of Saint Croix in the United States Virgin Islands and in New York City. He mentions getting in trouble with the law as a teenager in New York and speaks at length about about his exploration of Islam while incarcerated, particularly regarding his interactions with other Muslim prisoners and involvement in the Nation of Islam. He elaborates on his continued study of Warith Deen Mohammed's teachings after his release, especially as imam of Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He also talks about Masjid Khalifah's history, its growth in the thirty years that he has been its imam, his hopes for the mosque's future, and the ongoing gentrification of Bedford-Stuyvesant. He also touches on his first marriage and his life immediately after being released from prison. Interview conducted by Zaheer Ali.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Rashid, Rodney Adib

Subject Organizations

  • American Muslim Mission
  • Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Muhammad Mosque No. 7C (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • World Community of al-Islam in the West

Subject Topics

  • African American Muslims -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Black Muslims -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Feasts and Fasts -- Islam
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Imams (Mosque officers) -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Islamic religious education -- United States
  • Muslim converts -- United States
  • Prisoners -- Religious life -- United States

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Saint Croix (United States Virgin Islands)