It’s hard to know exactly how many Muslims live in New York City, but estimates peg the number at well above 500,000 people, or about 6 percent of the city’s population.
Men, women, kids, neighbors. Small business owners. Teachers. Police. Security guards.
They practice their religion at more than 250 mosques, spread out across every borough.
And even before Donald Trump’s new low in demogoguery this week, New York’s Muslims were running scared.
Women wearing head scarfs -- even some non-Muslims -- say they are taunted and stared at. Two Muslims in Brooklyn were spit at and assaulted. The director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the current backlash is as bad as the months and weeks following Sept. 11, 2001.
The fact that this is happening in New York, the most diverse city in the country and among the most pluralistic in the world, is not a surprise to those who are suffering through it. “Even in New York,” Ferida Osman, a Hunter College senior and a Muslim, who told the Times she was spat on by a stranger as she waited for a train at Penn Station. “Definitely in New York. Especially in New York.”
All of this before Trump once again opened his foul mouth.
It’s easy to get beaten down by all of this, to shrug it off as just another rant. Mayor Bill de Blasio, though, was right to warn this week against complacency when it comes to the effect Trump’s word can have.
“What he’s saying is corrosive to our democratic values. It’s dangerous,” the mayor told CNN. “And I’ll call him out and I think more and more people are saying you know what it used to be to some people entertaining, it’s not entertaining anymore, it’s dangerous.”