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Oral History Interview with Alyssa Haughwout, April 25, 2018

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Alyssa Haughwout discusses her community's Tatar heritage and Muslim faith, especially regarding their founding of the Brooklyn Moslem Mosque in 1907, unique language and religious practices, concerns about assimilation, and recent shifts from their traditional handling of gender roles. She also talks about her own relationship with her Muslim identity, including her deeper exploration of Islam in college, work as caretaker of the mosque's building and historical artifacts, concerns about Islamophobia, and experiences as a white Muslim woman. In addition, she touches on generational friction within the board over modernization of the mosque, her family's deep roots in the community, and her appreciation of interfaith celebrations. Interview conducted by Liz H. Strong.

Biographical / Historical

Alyssa Haughwout was born in 1984 in Queens and raised in Long Island. Her family frequently traveled into the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn throughout her childhood to attend their Tatar community's Brooklyn Moslem Mosque, which had been founded following the group's immigration from Eastern Europe throughout the early 1900s. She first served on the mosque's board with her aunt, Marion Sedorowitz (interviewed for this collection on April 11, 2018) while working toward a master's degree in art and design education from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She eventually became the board's vice president as well as the caretaker of the mosque.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201