The city of Utica in Upstate New York has seen better days. Like many Rust Belt cities, Utica has seen its' share of businesses leave, followed by residents and its young people packing their bags to find their fortunes elsewhere.
However Bosnian immigrants
are breathing new life into this down and out rust belt city. The
Bosnians began arriving here during the 1990's, fleeing the war that
tore apart their home country.
A key milestone marking the Bosnian's ascendency in Utica was the opening of the Utica Mosque. The mosque opened in 2008 in the United Methodist Church building. The significance does not go unnoticed that Utica's new mosque opened without controversy,
whereas communities elsewhere in the United States struggle with
proposed mosques, even in New York City. It's very well possible that
the reaction to the mosque might not have been the same if Utica's
Muslim population was dominated by Arabs, versus European Bosnians.