City Council Leaders Visit Bay Ridge Mosque

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and City Council member Carlos Menchaca met with leaders from the Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center last Friday. (Photo by John McCarten, New York City Council, via Kings County Politics)

The New York City Council Speaker and the chair of the council’s Immigration Committee went to Bay Ridge last Friday to meet with members of the Arab community at a local mosque, in the wake of the dismissal from the committee of Council member Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park, Midwood, Flatbush), who on his Twitter feed in late March had referred to “so-called Palestinians” and said that “Palestine does not exist.” S. Rodriguez of Kings County Politics reports on the meeting at the Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center, which the reporter was not allowed to attend. But Rodriguez was provided with a recording of remarks by Johnson, and spoke later with Menchaca.

The Arab community here in New York City, here in Brooklyn is a beautiful important part of our city and Arab Americans, Arab immigrants and Palestinians where ever you come from whatever brought you to the United States of America and brought you to New York City I am grateful you are here,” said Johnson. “I am grateful that you are in New York City, I am grateful that your families are in New York City.”

Johnson said every community deserves peace, every community deserves self-determination, and every community deserves safety that is what every community deserves here and around the world.

“It is the most important thing that when there is rising anti-Semitism, that when there is rising Islamphobia, when there is rising acts of hate that leaders in government come forward to talk about that, to condemn that and to ensure that no one feels that it’s appropriate to behave that way,” Johnson said.

Menchaca, for his part, stressed that “everyone needs to feel welcomed to come before me as the president of this committee and be heard and feel safe. The Palestinian community, the Arab community, the Muslim community, the immigrant community needs to hear from us.”

Read more at Kings County Politics.

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