Yemeni Bodega Owners Boycott the New York Post

Dr. Debbie Almontaser (center) joined members of the Yemeni American Merchants Association and others outside the News Corp offices in New York. They are calling for a boycott of the New York Post. (Photo by Alice Chambers via NY City Lens)

On April 13, some bodega owners in the Yemeni American Merchants Association in NYC started a boycott of the New York Post by not selling the newspaper in their stores. The paper’s April 11 front page had an image of the World Trade Center attacks with a quote from Rep. Ilhan Omar saying that 9/11 was “some people did something.” Its headline read: “Here’s your something – 2,977 people dead by terrorism.” In a media advisory, YAMA wrote that it strongly condemns the “editorial decision to weaponize images of 9/11 to provoke hatred and fear.” On March 23, the Minnesota representative said at a Council on American-Islamic Relations event, in relation to Muslims being treated as second-class citizens, that CAIR was founded after 9/11 “because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

On Sunday, YAMA board secretary Dr. Debbie Almontaser joined members of the organization at a press conference in front of the News Corp building in midtown Manhattan, the parent company of the New York Post. Alice Chambers covered the event for NY City Lens.

Yemeni bodega owners are among the best organized Muslim groups in New York. The Merchants Association represents about 5,000 bodega owners in the city and sprung out of a mass protest against President Trump’s travel ban in 2017.

“This was the first time for our community to rise, to exist,” says Ayyad Algabyali, advocacy director at the merchants’ association. “Grass roots are powerful,” he added.

As of Sunday, the group estimates that several hundred Yemeni bodega owners have decided to boycott the New York Post by refusing to sell it in their stores. It may take some time for them to sever distribution contracts with the Post, but in the meantime, they are simply not putting the papers on their newsstands. A bodega in Manhattan might be expected to sell 80-90 newspapers a day, according to Algabyali. Multiply this across the city and the Yemeni merchants’ association might wield enough economic power to get the Post to give into their demands.

Go to NY City Lens to see how the YAMA campaign emerged in under a day and read more from the press conference.

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