The rapid decline & steady return of Brooklyn’s Muslim community


By Bilal Lakhani

After September 11, a wave of detentions by FBI-led task forces caused many Muslim immigrants to flee Brooklyn. Law enforcement authorities were using federal immigration laws to detain aliens, mostly Muslims, suspected of having possible ties to terrorism1.This resulted in a dwindling Muslim population throughout the borough.

But in recent years, the population numbers are beginning to sketch a portrait of revival. Nine years after 9/11, Brooklyn Ink lets the numbers to do the talking:

The Plunge


That’s the drop in the Bangladeshi population in Brooklyn from 2000 to 2005. 6,243 residents of Bengali origin lived in Brooklyn in 2000. This number was down to 1,832 in 2005.

The Detentions


The number of aliens who were arrested by FBI-led terrorism task forces after 9/11 and classified as “September 11 detainees.” 491 of the 762 arrests were made in New York.


September 11 detainees were held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in the months after 9/11. According to a report by the Department of Justice, the MDC detainees were held under “the most restrictive conditions possible,” which included “lockdown” for at least 23 hours per day, extremely limited access to telephones, and restrictive escort procedures any time the detainees were moved outside their cells1.


Number of Pakistani citizens classified as September 11 detainees in the months after 9/11. They formed 33% of the total number of aliens detained, more than double the number of any other country1.


Drop in the Pakistani population in Brooklyn from 2000 to 2005. 14,221 residents of Pakistani origin lived in Brooklyn in 2000. This number was down to 6,972 in 2005.


The number out of the 762 detainees who were eventually charged with terrorism-related offenses. While some of these arrests resulted in criminal charges, the vast majority of September 11 detainees were charged with civil violations of federal immigration law, including: 1) staying past the expiration date on their visas, 2) entering the country without inspection, or 3) entering the country with invalid immigration documents1.

The Comeback


Number of Pakistanis in Brooklyn according to a 2005-09 five year average calculated by the American Community Survey. The Pakistani population in Brooklyn is growing once again and steadily heading towards pre 9/11 levels.

Stay tuned for more as we follow up on the return of the Pakistani community to Brooklyn’s Coney Island Avenue, dubbed “Little Pakistan.”

Source List:

1. The September 11 Detainees: A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks. Issued by the Office of the Inspector General, US Department of Justice.

2. Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations have been calculated according to the Asian population by National origin in Brooklyn reported in the U.S. Census 2000, American Community Survey 2005 and the 2005-09 five year average. This information was extracted from


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