A once-burgeoning Pakistani community in the Parkville section of Brooklyn saw its numbers dwindle after the September 11th attacks, but is starting to rebuild in recent years. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following Asian-American Week report.
It was 1999 when NY1 first visited a stretch of Coney Island avenue in the Parkville section of Brooklyn.
At that time, a Pakistani community was starting to emerge.
"This community is growing like crazy here," said Asghar Choudhri of the Pakistani-American Federation at the time. "All the people are coming here with the families, with the children. We have more than about 100 stores and offices here."
That, however, changed when we returned in 2003, as the mostly Muslim community reeled in the aftermath of 9/11. Community leaders found that as many as 20,000 people moved out of the area and out of the country . Some feared a backlash and others deportation, as immigration polices and enforcement became more stringent.
"We've seen the raids that happened over here," said Mohammad Razvi of the Council of Pakistan Organization at the time. "We've seen families who are lost, families who don't know where their families or their sons are."
Razvi founded the Council of Pakistani Organization (COPO) after September 11, 2001 to help members of his community understand their rights. He later changed the name to the Council of Peoples Organization and expanded services to include bridge building with law enforcement agencies as well as youth programs and citizenship classes.
NY1's 2006 visit to a community center saw a community slowing starting to come back. The trend was again observed when NY1 stopped by last year and just this past week, as the immigration process continues to add numbers.
"Many of the community members that were living here, they had their immigration papers for their family and loved ones," Razvi said. "All of a sudden we're seeing all these cases that were 15 to 20 years old were becoming current. We started seeing those families first come in."
Recently, COPO opened the first halal senior center in the city. Next, the organization is working to create senior housing in the area.