Nov 11 2013
Hey, it’s just business! Evicted mosque imam shunned by Harlem landlords who don’t want to rent to a mosque
A Harlem Imam and his 1,500-member congregation were evicted from their longtime house of worship — and so far haven’t been able to find a new home in the area. (Probably because landlords don’t want to rent to a deadbeat mosque that owed more than $18,000 in back rent when evicted)
NY Daily News The saga began two weeks ago, when city marshals evicted Konate after a rent increase dispute with the building owner. Konate, whose lease expired last fall, said he knew his time on Frederick Douglass Blvd. was limited. The building owner charged in housing court that Konate owed him $18,423 in back rent.
The owner would not comment on the dispute, but told the Daily News he plans to begin construction on a residential complex at the former site of the mosque and a row of five shuttered businesses.
The man of Allah says he’s been shunned by Harlem landlords, who would rather develop luxury apartments. “It’s very difficult to get a place in Harlem now,” said Imam Souleimane Konate, of Masjid Aqsa Mosque, which operated on Frederick Douglass Blvd. near W. 116th St. for about 15 years. “Not only is the rent high, but it is difficult for people to accept the mosque.”
Konate says he has identified viable locations nearby, but so far their owners have declined to tender him a lease.