Archive for the tag 'muslims'

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.

Plaintiff Asad Dandia at a Press Conference (Source: wnyc.org)

Plaintiff Asad Dandia at a Press Conference (Source: wnyc.org)

The NYPD is being taken to federal court by a group of Muslim New Yorkers, which includes a Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) student, over what they allege was an illegal spying sting. WNYC is reporting that 20-year-old Asad Dandia, the Kingsborough student, has joined the suit, which charges that the NYPD violated his constitutional rights as a law-abiding citizen in the surveillance program.

The controversial program in question came to light in a series of investigations conducted by the Associated Press. Besides the alleged illegality of the operation, the lawsuit addresses the consequences that the program has had on imams now more hesitant to discuss current affairs in their mosques. The NYPD action also has frayed relations between local Muslims and the police.

The WNYC report describes Dandia’s interaction with an undercover officer and the supposed hypocrisy of comments made by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly:

One of the plaintiffs, Asad Dandia , a 20-year-old Kingsborough Community College student who co-founded a Muslim service organization, found out last year that a man who had befriended him and joined his group was secretly working as an informant for the NYPD.

Dandia said it was ironic to hear NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly criticize the secrecy of the federal NSA surveillance program in an interview in Tuesday’s New York Post. “It’s like, be a man of your principle, right? If you’re going to condemn one form of surveillance, you should take a look at your own backyard,” he said after a press conference outside NYPD headquarters.

In response to the suit, the NYPD defended itself by stating that there is nothing unlawful about officers attending events open to the public and using information they gather to fight terrorism.

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.

The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Source: hahatango / Flickr

Ripples of sadness and concern rippled through the predominantly Russian neighborhood of Bright Beach when it was learned that the bombings at the Boston Marathon were allegedly perpetrated by two Chechen brothers.

The New York Daily News reported that local Russian immigrants, while saddened by the tragic events in Boston, were also worried that it will now be tougher for Russians to gain entry to the United States.

Reactions from across Brighton Beach ranged from empathy to anger over the alleged acts of terrorism by 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his now deceased brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

“The people who did this listened to the devil,” Elena Rasinkina, 59, told the New York Daily News. “It’s simple — they were evil.”

“I’m glad they found the people who did this. I hope it never happens again,” said 29-year-old Jesse Chase, a local worker at the Best Buy International Food on Brighton Beach Avenue.

Others expressed fear that the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers would make it harder for Russians of all faiths to immigrate to America:

Fara Sabivov, a Russian Muslim who moved to Brighton Beach from Uzbekistan about 10 years ago on a green card, fears that other Russians will be denied entrance into the U.S. because of the Boston bombings.

“Everybody is sad over this,” the 35-year-old restaurant manager said.

“For Russians coming to America, it’s going to be even harder. They’re worried.”

Despite the concern over potentially stricter immigration laws, most were mainly as stunned as the rest of the country over why anyone would perpetrate such a heinous act.

“It’s shocking,” Munira Ruzehaji, 59, a Turkish Muslim told the Daily News. “Who would want to do this?”

Jewish and Turkish-Muslim teenagers come together to share experiences through the Peace Builders program. (Source: youngpeacebuilders.org)

In New York, people of all races, religions and opinions are crammed together in a vibrant democracy that has forged a unique situation never seen before in world history. Still, even in a place as diverse as New York, we can still find ourselves divided by color, ethnicity or religious beliefs, a painful reinforcement of centuries old barriers of intolerance. That’s what makes the Young Peace Builders (YPB) of Southern Brooklyn so special. The Young Peace Builders is an organization that consists of teenage Muslims and Jews working together to improve their community.

The Young Peace Builders program was launched three years ago as a cooperative effort by the Kings Bay Y (3495 Nostrand Avenue), a Jewish Community Center, and the Amity School (3867 Shore Parkway), a K-12 school that predominantly serves a Turkish-Muslim student body. The program, recently covered by the Jewish Week, so far for girls only, primarily serves as a symbol for an increased linking between Muslim and Jewish groups in the area as well as a training ground for future leaders in the area of interfaith cooperation.

“This can serve as a template for Jewish-Muslim relationships,” said Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y. Rabbi Robert Kaplan, who coordinates the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York City’s outreach to various religious and ethnic groups, calls the Y and Amity School “mainstream organizations … within their [respective] communities,” with the ability to influence their own communities. “There is no reason there should not be more and more” Jewish-Muslim programs like those in southern Brooklyn.

The Jewish Week also described how a large amount of credit for the group’s existence belongs to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

The two religious groups, who were neighbors but virtual strangers to each other, were brought together by State Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz, whose district includes Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and part of Brighton Beach; his constituents are Jews and Turkish Muslims. After participating in a legislators’ mission to Turkey a few years ago, he brought leaders of his neighborhood’s Jewish and Turkish communities together.

“It’s through education that we can get to understand each other,” Cymbrowitz told The Jewish Week.

Through the YPB, Jewish and Muslim teens have gone on trips to Israel, Turkey, Boston and Washington DC. On these trips, the teenagers have shared hotel rooms, prepared each other’s meals and celebrated religious holidays together. Teenager Hayrunnisa Kalac expressed the hope that the founders of the program hoped to instill in all its participants.

“We’re planting the seeds of something that can be very big” — an example of tolerance, Kalac told the Jewish Week.

Inspiring stuff and a great read. Check out the full article by clicking here and read more about the Young Peace Builders and their mission by clicking here.

Correction (1:47 p.m.): The original version of this article erroneously referred to the name of the organization as Young Peace Keepers instead of their actual name, Young Peace Builders. We regret the mistake, and any confusion it may have caused.

Mosque construction in February. Photo by nolastname.

Voices of NY article reveals a major change in local demographics within the next 30 years.

It states:

According to the Faiths and Freedom Project for Religious Diversity of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, ‘Within 20 to 30 years the Russian Jewish – or WWII generation – will have lost its dominant status as a majority in Brighton Beach.’

The article goes on to highlight the demographic change from the Russian-Jewish population to a Pakistani-Muslim majority.

The influx that started in the 90′s is poised to grow. A 2000 U.S. Census counted 960 Pakistanis in the neighborhood. Ten years later, the population increased to 1,901, which is a 98 percent increase.

“When I came here 23 years [ago], there were very few Pakistani people and no mosques,” said Abdul R. Bhatti, in the article. “Now there are three mosques – a Pakistani one, a Lebanese and a Turkic.”

Local leaders state that they are working hard to build bridges between the two communities.

“We have worked hard to develop stronger relations with the other communities of Brighton Beach,” said Susan Fox, executive director of the Shorefront YM-YWHA.

Fox said the Shorefront YM-YWHA had a lot of connection to the Russian-speaking community and knew how to reach out to the Latino population, but had little experience with the Pakistani community, which is concentrated around Neptune Avenue. Thus one of the organization’s main priorities is to establish relations with the Muslim population and help as many people as possible.

“We have no problems with the other people here,” said Rasid Tauquir, a Pakistani resident. “We all live here – together.”

Now would someone tell these people?

State Senator Marty Golden. Source: NYSenate.gov

According to a report in Vos Is Neias, New York State Senator Marty Golden reversed his stance on the NYPD’s controversial “spying program,” which allegedly targets mosques and other Muslim gathering points in a citywide counter-terrorism effort.

Golden, a Republican, who had previously provided his signature to a letter praising Police Chief Ray Kelly and the NYPD in their efforts for “going to precisely the source of the problem,” now has stated the opposite at a forum hosted by the Arab-American Association of New York.

“Anybody that would spy on any religious institution is absolutely wrong. I do not stand by anybody who would do that,” said Golden in response to a question wondering if Kelly should apologize. “If [Commissioner Kelly] has, he should apologize – but it hasn’t been proven that he has.”

The spying program, which, according to the AP, targeted “Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.” It has led to no leads, cases, or arrests.

Golden’s call for an apology was not overlooked by Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes, also present at the forum, who reminded voters of Golden’s previous support for the initiative.

Next »