"We Are Brooklyn": One Muslim, One Jew, One Community

September 11, 2006

Source: The Christian Science Monitor


On September 11, 2006 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "In the aftermath of 9/11, Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn had the potential to become a powder keg. Home to one of the highest concentrations of Jews and Muslims living together, the city's largest mosque and its largest Orthodox synagogue sit just three blocks apart. Dozens of FBI agents and immigration officials flooded the neighborhood. Muslim men were disappearing. Some were detained by the government. Others - many who understood neither English nor the way the US legal system worked - were so frightened that they stayed with friends and neighbors rather than go home. Two men - one a Jew and one a Muslim, complete strangers - each on his own decided that real security lay in building understanding between their communities, ending the fear that had come to grip the neighborhood, and battling extremism of any kind. Each transformed his life, dedicating it to affirming the American values that inspired their families to come to this country and the spiritual values of their faiths. They ended up close friends, political advocates, and catalysts of community cooperation. 'That's the beauty of this country; people can come together from different races and religions and work together,' says Mohammad Ravi, now director of the Council of People's Organizations (COPO)."