June 25, 2024

African migrants welcomed by Bronx religious leader


A mosque in the Bronx has been welcoming migrants from Africa for a year and a half.

Imam Omar Niass of the Bronx has been welcoming migrants from Africa for a year and a half now, housing adult single men, mostly from Senegal, in his mosque.

At one point, he had over 150 men staying at his mosque, prompting him to set up tents in the backyard due to the limited space inside the building.

“This place is not meant to hold hundreds or dozens of people, but they feel safe here,” said Abdoulaye Cisse, the Executive Director of Baba Inc. “They’re here in a community that they trust.”

After Mayor Eric Adams got word that the men were living in the mosque, his office coordinated with the imam to move the majority of them to the emergency humanitarian relief center on Randall’s Island.

Currently, Imam Niass says that 27 men are staying at the mosque, but says 5 of them will be heading to Randall’s Island tonight.

However, the days of the tent shelter on Randall’s Island are numbered, with Mayor Adams announcing on Thursday that it will be closing next week. The tent city was built to house 500 single adult men seeking asylum, but there’s been a slowdown in arrivals.

According to the Legal Aid Society, roughly 285 migrants currently stay at the emergency shelter and will be taken to the Watson Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen.

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