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Women dressed in black abayas–full-length gowns–and men wearing kufis–a knitted cap–with beards are a common sight.
Even young girls wearing hijab– a Muslim headscarf–or a young boy in traditional throbes–a type of linen robe–stroll along the sidewalk with their mothers.
Walking down lower Germantown Avenue sometimes feels like you’ve been transported to a predominantly Muslim country.
Halal meat shops, Islamic clothing and bookstores line the commercial corridor.
Born in the small, landlocked country of Burundi in east central Africa, Rahman was raised as a Muslim and came to Philadelphia 18 years ago to spread the religious word.
He started taking classes while in jail and felt really connected when he was released.“Christianity just couldn’t answer my questions, Islam did,” he says.Raqiyb volunteers at the Masjid and works for a homeless men’s shelter in the neighborhood.He says that the number of members has grown dramatically in recent years.“When this community moved here and began to grow a lot of bad things began to disappear, back in the day there used to be people selling drugs or smoking outside and stuff, but when people came around practicing Islam those people became uncomfortable and left,” he says.