Spread across a region of the Middle East with no border of their own, the Kurdish people are spread across the Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. While there is no official Kurdistan, 20,000 Kurds call Nashville home. The first Kurds arrived in Nashville in the 1980s followed by subsequent waves in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Salahadeen Center, the first Kurdish mosque in the U.S., was established in 1998.
Nashville hosts the largest Kurdish population in the United States. Little Kurdistan in Nashville is located near Elysian Fields, where one my find shops, cafes, and mosques representing the Kurdish community.
Many Kurds in Tennessee have come as refugees and escaped genocide, persecution, and marginalization. Many Kurds fleeing Iraq were civic leaders, and the area is home to a number of markets, bakeries, and cafes and other Kurdish owned businesses. Kurds in Tennessee represent a dynamic ethnic community in Southeast Nashville.
Nashville represents a dynamic Kurdish Muslim community. For cross-cultural workers, Nashville represents an opportunity for building relationships and living on mission in the city.