Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Muslim Lives Matter: A View from the Bronx

I have taught and worked in the Bronx for nearly 50 years. i know the Bronx's neighborhoods and people  through work I have done with community organizations, programs i have done in the public schools, and countless hours spent eating, playing ball, and hearing music in many parts of the borough. And I will tell you this. Muslim immigrants, from West African and South asian countries,  and from Albania and the Middle East, have played a major role in revitalizing Bronxneighborhoods and business districts during the last 20 years. Their grocery stores, restaurants, travel agencies, mosques and Islamic centers, can be seen in wide stretches of the borough, from Parkchester to Highbridge, some in areas that had previously been devastated by fires and the crack epidemic. Overwhelmingly, they have played a positive role in Bronx communities, have gotten along extremely well with their Christian and Jewish neighbors and have preached interfaith harmony and co-operation. Whenever people attack American Muslims as would-be terrorists, scores of individuals from Bronx Muslim families and communities who i have worked with or taught come to mind, reminding me that an injury to one is an injury to all. I cannot remain indifferent when three young American Muslims, who could have been my students, are gunned down in cold blood just because of their religion. They are not the enemy. They are not the other. They are family.u