Archive for the tag 'islam'

tayba

Source: Google Maps

UPDATE (4:21 p.m.): The Times has more on both incidents. On the Midwood incident:

On Friday evening, outside a prayer gathering preceding the nightly meal, men in a white Lexus flung eggs at three elderly worshipers entering a mosque on Coney Island Avenue. “This is for your Allah!” the vandals shouted.

And on the Bay Ridge incident:

Two days later, just as dawn broke on Sunday, 25 blocks away, a group of teenagers rolled past the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge seven times in a car, blaring with makeshift sirens and lights. “Burn to the ground!” they chanted as they waved Israeli flags. When the car stopped, a young worshiper retaliated by hurling a bottle, nicking one of the hecklers on his nose and hands.

UPDATE (4:13 p.m.): We just heard back from sources at the 61st Precinct, who tell us that the two incidents appear to be separate. Those in the vehicle involved in the Midwood incident did not wave Israeli flags or display anything related to Israel or Judaism. From a white vehicle, they pelted the worshipers with eggs. Both incidents are being investigated by the Hate Crimes Task Force.

Original post:

A group of hooligans circled mosques in Midwood and Bay Ridge over the weekend, shouting anti-Muslim slurs and pelting worshipers with eggs, according to local religious leaders.

NY1 reports:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says a car circled a Bay Ridge mosque while its passengers waved Israeli flags and yelled anti-Islamic slurs Sunday morning.

A spokesman for a Sheepshead Bay mosque says a similar incident happened there Friday, but the group in the car also threw eggs at elderly worshipers.

JPUpdates identified the Sheepshead Bay mosque as Tayba Islamic Center, located at 2165 Coney Island Avenue, just south of Avenue R in Midwood. According to that outlet, the incidents were caught on surveillance cameras and the video has been turned over to police.

The incidents came to light during a press conference on Tuesday hosted by the Islamic Society Center of Bay Ridge, where the actions were condemned by local politicians and Jewish and Muslim religious leaders.

JPUpdates reported on their statements:

“We will not tolerate the desecration of any type against churches, mosques and synagogues in this city,” State Senator Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) declared.

“At this center, we have been with good relationships with everybody around us—all the neighbors around us, irrespective of their religion, irrespective of their ethnic origin—we are good with everybody,” Dr. Husam Rimawi, President of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, said.

… Councilmember Vincent Gentile read a statement on behalf of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am appalled by the reports of intimidation and harassment against mosques in New York. We have seen this ugly side rear its head before. Our city has also spent many years trying to heal and bridge divides,” Mark-Viverito said. “All people have the right to worship freely, without threats. Religious freedom is a core principle of our nation and protected by the Constitution.”

.. “It really breaks my heart,” Jewish community leader Douglas Jablon said. “We are relatives — we have the same grandfather, and we should act like it,” he said.

“It makes me very deeply sad that anyone would behave in a harassing way to someone else’s worship,” Rabbi Valerie Lieber of the Kane Street Synagogue said. “I know many people are very upset about what is happening in Israel and Gaza. And yet there are appropriate ways to express yourself — not to harass other people.”

burger-king-mosque

Photo by Rob Erichsen

Shuttered for more than two years, the former Burger King location at 2481 Knapp Street has been converted into a temporary prayer space for local Muslims to observe Ramadan.

The Muslim American Society has taken over the space with a one-month lease, allowing them to celebrate one of the religion’s most important holidays near their homes. The group sought out a temporary place of worship while their permanent location, 2812 Voorhies Avenue, nears completion.

“The [Voorhies Avenue] building wasn’t going to be ready for Ramadan, and they need a facility, so they rented that place. They have a lease. They have all their paperwork. They’re only there for one month,” said Kenan Tashkent, the 61st Precinct’s liaison to the Muslim community. Tashkent met with the mosque’s congregants and leadership yesterday, and noted that the Voorhies Avenue location remains a few months away from completion.

Paper signs have been taped up in English and Arabic at the Knapp Street storefront. The interior has been carpeted, with a curtain separating prayer spaces for men and women, as is tradition.

“They were very nice, very cooperative. They told me everything. They’ve got all of their paperwork and they don’t need to disturb  the neighborhood or anything. It’s their holiday,” he added.

Ramadan began this past Saturday, June 28, and ends on July 27. It’s the most sacred month for Muslims, marking Muhammed’s first revelations. It is observed by fasting, donating to charity, prayer and recitation of the Quran.

Local Muslims, of which there is a large community in the Kings Bay and Plumb Beach areas, as well as around Voorhies Avenue, have long sought to establish a local mosque. After raising funds, they submitted plans to construct an Islamic community center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue in 2009 – a proposal that saw vehement, and sometimes racially motivated, opposition from neighbors. After court battles, they won permission from the city to move forward and it has been under construction ever since.

Prior to establishing a local site, area Muslims had to travel to Brighton Beach, Bath Beach or head further north in Brooklyn to attend a mosque. More than just miles away, many of the institutions are far over capacity, causing overflows onto sidewalks and streets during high holidays like Ramadan – which the mosque organizers hope to reduce by establishing a local site.

Organizers from the mosque could not be reached for this article.

The Taj Mahal. Source: Samuel Bourne (1860) / Wikimedia Commons

The Taj Mahal. Source: Samuel Bourne (1860) / Wikimedia Commons

Alternate side parking regulations for the purpose of street cleaning will be suspended Monday through Thursday, October 14 to 17, in observance of both Columbus Day and Eid al-Adha. All other regulations, including parking meters, shall remain in effect. You can download your own 2013 Alternate Side Parking Suspension calendar — in English, as well as in ChineseHaitian CreoleItalianKoreanRussian or Spanish (all PDFs) — from the NYC DOT’s website.

Muslims observe the conclusion of Eid al-Fitr with sweets. Now: Where da Reese's peanut butter cups at?  ReeseSource: GlobalPost.com

Muslims observe the conclusion of Eid al-Fitr with sweets. Now: Where da Reese’s peanut butter cups at? ReeseSource: GlobalPost.com

Alternate side of the street parking regulations for the purpose of street cleaning will be suspended Wednesday through Friday, August 7-9, in observance of Eid Al-Fitr. All other regulations, including parking meters, shall remain in effect.  You can download your own 2013 Alternate Side Parking Suspension calendar — in English, as well as in ChineseHaitian CreoleItalianKoreanRussian or Spanish (all PDFs) — from the NYC DOT’s website.

Look at what some hate-filled clown did. A reader sent this photo in this morning. It happened on Avenue Z and Haring Street, an area where many of the community’s Muslim residents live.

We’re waiting to hear if this was reported to police, and if it’s being investigated as a hate crime.

Update (10:45 a.m.): Reader Vadym S. confirms that police are investigating. We’re still waiting to hear from NYPD whether or not it’s being referred to the Hate Crimes Unit.

Update (12:45 p.m.): Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has weighed in, with a statement condemning the vandalism.

This revolting act of prejudice was meant to intimidate New Yorkers on their streets and in their homes – but because of our unity and our strength, it’s not going to work. We won’t stand for anti-Muslim bigotry – not in Sheepshead Bay, not in Brooklyn, not anywhere in our city. Anyone with information on these perpetrators should come forward right away by calling 1-800-577-TIPS.

Update (2:28 p.m.): District Leader Ari Kagan, a candidate for City Council, also weighed in:

I was deeply saddened and troubled to learn of yesterday’s hate crime, targeting Muslims, in Sheepshead Bay. Southern Brooklyn is a vibrant, diverse community, home to families from all across the world. There is absolutely no place for such hateful behavior in our communities. We must stand with our District Attorney to ensure these perpetrators are brought to justice. Our neighbors will, of course, assist the NYPD with their investigation. I encourage any one with information on this crime to step forward.

Kagan, it’s worth noting, is against the Voorhies Avenue mosque, protests over which some say has made this kind of anti-Muslim sentiment publicly acceptable.

We wrote back in July about State Senator David Storobin’s attempts to get the city to revisit the issue of the Islamic mosque and community center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue, hoping they’d squash the project. Some time between then and now, the mayor’s office wrote back to Storobin, but his answer must have been unsatisfactory to the local pol: Storobin sent another letter, again pushing the issue.

Storobin’s original letter focused largely on building and zoning issues related to the project, but closed with a suggestion that the mosque’s backers, the Muslim American Society, has ties to radical organizations.

A request for a copy of Bloomberg’s letter to Storobin did not receive a response, but something in it must have made Storobin ditch all that language about zoning, and focus solely on those alleged ties and the “well-being of my constituents.”

Check it out below:

Storobin’s Second Letter to Bloomberg Urges City To Revisit Voorhies Mosque Issue

Mosque construction in February. (Photo by nolastname.)

The ongoing issue of the proposed mosque and Islamic community center slated to be built in Sheepshead Bay has the community divided and the local politicians spinning the story from all angles.

Most recently, we covered a backpack giveaway that occurred at at 2812 Voorhies Avenue, at the mosque’s construction site. The giveaway was sponsored by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and it received no less debate than the proposed mosque itself. In fact, there was a small protest at the site on the day of the giveaway event.

The New York Times ran a piece that tied the backpack giveaway to the larger issue of the split opinions related to the construction project.

The Times writes:

The mosque’s backers say 150 to 200 Muslim families who live within walking distance are in need of a local place to pray. The mosque, they want to reassure neighbors, will be an asset, providing afterschool activities to children, a Boy Scout troop open to all and charity events, like the school supply giveaway.

Those against the mosque cite parking and traffic concerns mainly.

“We understand that this is the First Amendment, that everyone has a right to pray, but what about our rights as a residents?” said Victor Benari, 58, one of the two protesters on hand last month. “It’s provocation, 100 percent. Why here? Why not build on a nice big commercial street?”

There are, however, others who believe that it will divide the neighborhood.

“Yes, they are smiling, but you know what’s behind their smiles?” said Leonid Krupnik to the Times. He was one of the two protesters at the giveaway. “Hatred. They want to create a caliphate. They want to push people out of this neighborhood.”

Krupnik belongs to a local group who calls themselves the Bay People. The group’s efforts center on blocking the mosque from being erected. However, due to laws which make it very difficult to oppose a house of worship, the best they can do is delay the project.

The Times writes, “Mr. Krupnik and other opponents say they are being unfairly typecast as xenophobes and racists. They do nevertheless worry that the neighborhood will change so much that non-Muslims will want to leave and they fear that the mosque will be used to promote radical thinking.”

It does seem, however, that opposition is loosening. Whereas last year, the police were called to the backpack giveaway to keep order, this year only the two protestors came. For the backers of the project, this is good news.

To celebrate the new school year, local Muslims, the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are teaming up to give out free school bags and school supplies to the Sheepshead Bay community this Saturday, August 25.

A total of 300 school bags containing notebooks, pens, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, rulers, crayons and more will be distributed. The giveaway is part of a larger event organized by ICNA, in which 5,000 bags packed with supplies will be given out to needy children around New York City through August and September.

“Many families in New York are under financial pressure; some have lost jobs and find it difficult to buy school supplies for their children,” said Salman Khan, Project Director for ICNA NY. “We hope this initiative will cater to these needs of low-income families, and help build a better future for our children.”

When: Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Where: MAS Sheepshead Bay Center, 2812 Voorhies Avenue

Other dates and locations can be found on the organization’s website. Above is a video produced by ICNA promoting the event.

Source: Ben Akselrod for Assembly

Reader and Bay People member Victor Benari e-mailed us last week, attaching a quote from Ben Akselrod, who is facing off against Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in the Democratic primary next month.

The quote, originally published in the Russian newspaper The Reporter, refers to the so-called “Ground Zero” Islamic Center, as well as the proposed mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue. It was translated as follows:

I do not believe that most representatives and officials from the state and the city approve of the construction of a mosque at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack and in this neighborhood in Sheephead Bay where Muslims certainly don’t live. These representatives are quiet and vote “yes” because it is politically correct. They lie to themselves and their constituents. I’m not a xenophobe; I’m not against mosques, churches and synagogues. But if one mosque – an insult to the memory of victims, the other – a challenge to the community living in this area, so I would like to sort things out, who is behind this, and where does the financing come from for this provocative demonstration. And I would request an investigation as to how the city officials gave permission for the construction of such a large-scale structure on the narrow Voorhies Ave and which officials have signed-off on this.

There are so many things that I simply cannot tolerate as a citizen, but I see that my representatives and the representatives of people like me circumvent this issue-no matter what the outcome as long as they don’t hurt themselves.

The quote confirms what Sheepshead Bites speculated back in May, when Akselrod announced his campaign, when the candidate made thinly-veiled references to the mosque construction in an attack against Cymbrowitz.

“Nobody should be defending illegal construction in your backyard because of political correctness,” Akselrod said.

The quote appeared to be in reference to the Sheepshead Bay mosque being built at 2812 Voorhies Avenue. Opponents of the mosque frequently mix arguably legitimate complaints about building violations and zoning with racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric– and the main opposition group, Bay People, along with the Brooklyn Tea Party, has slammed Cymbrowitz in the past for not speaking out against the mosque’s development. Akselrod appears to be doing no different here, conflating concerns about over-development with fear-mongering speculation about the mosque’s financing.

Akselrod elaborated on his concerns regarding the mosque’s backers to Brooklyn Daily.

“The Muslim American Society — the organization behind this mosque — originate from the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that was outlawed in the U.S.,” said Akselrod, alleging the mosque backers have terrorist roots.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood has not been “outlawed” in the U.S., and the government even recognizes some of its more radical chapters. The group is not considered a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and has renounced violence – though is sympathetic to violent anti-Israel groups such as Hamas.

The mosque is not in Cymbrowitz’s district, the district that Akselrod is running for.

In related news, Askelrod led a march against hate on the Brighton Beach boardwalk this weekend, in the wake of the anti-Semitic vandalism at Holocaust Memorial Park.

 

Mosque construction in February. (Photo by nolastname.)

State Senator David Storobin sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urging the city to reexamine alleged zoning issues surrounding the planned Islamic mosque and community center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.

See what it’s all about, and read the letter.

Next »