© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Marking Ramadan on Buffalo's West Side

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

For Muslims, this is the month of Ramadan, a time of religious fasting. The observance continues in a mosque on Buffalo's West Side, offering a look at the city's evolving cultural mix.

Masjid Aleiman is in what was once a neighborhood theater on Connecticut street but the designs on the front and the side of the structure show its ties to Islam. Imam Ishmael Ayyash says there are so many participating in religious events in the building, it's being expanded. He says members are from across the globe, a shifting population representing immigrant America.

"They feel they're country's here. Why? Because: What's your country? Your country is that which welcomes you," Imam Ayyash said.

He provides religious guidance to the hundreds of families who belong to the mosque. He also resolves disputes, whether inside families or in businesses.

Another part of his duties is working with families to teach children about their faith in a secular society.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
A former theater on Connecticut Street has been converted into a mosque for Muslims on Buffalo's West Side.

"You tell them about the religion and about the culture and you send them to the school and you tell them, okay, this is what you can do and this is what you cannot do," Imam Ayyash said

"You educate them in the good way, they will listen."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.