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Young Muslim Man Rescues Jews from Thugs

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*I cross-posted this on Dailykos & Streetprophets. You should click through and see how positive stories like this can really generate positive exposure about what Islam REALLY stands for*

The title initially brought all the Abrahamic faiths together… Initially, I had “Christian extremists” in lieu of “thugs”. But, I felt a bit queasy about even mentioning that the thugs were Christians, similar to my feelings when I keep hearing ad nauseum about “Islamic extremists” or Islamic radicals or what have you. Because really what does Christianity have to do with this, except that the thugs were misusing their religion? Just like what does Islam have to do when Muslims do crazy things in its name?

Regardless, the incident brought together practitioners of the three faiths (one being misrepresented of course), not on an interfaith stage, but rather in a bizarre incident; a strange twist that is positive on many fronts, yet negative on others.

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Before you read this story, which is a rarity for its positive spin on Muslims, consider how the situation would have been if the thugs were Muslims? Would the headline have read: “Muslim terrorists attack Jewish on subway, to be saved by Christians”, or “Radical Muslims can’t hear mention of hannukkah?”. Ponder over that, and consider how stereotyping has a numbing effect on our sensibilities.

So, the story goes:

Apparently, Adler, his girlfriend and a couple of friends (all Jews) boarded a subway, when someone in another group wished them “Merry Christmas”. To which Adler responded, “Happy Hanukkah”. According to the report, those were “fighting words” in what seemed to be an extremist rendition of Christian teachings, i.e. “Jews killed Jesus on Hanukkah”.

Allegedly then (one of the attackers denies antisemitism and in fact blames that Adler’s group was drunk and was taunting them!), there was mayhem and the thugs started calling Adler and his friends, “dirty Jews” and other choice words.

Amid a huge scrum, Askari, a Muslim who just happened to be there, jumped in to help the Jewish passengers:

“I’m bleeding all over the place, there’s lots of people, they’re fighting with Hassan still, and I’m like, why isn’t anyone else doing anything?” Adler said.

Adler appreciated Hassan Askari’s intervention:

The two new pals – Adler, 23, with a broken nose and a fat lip, and Askari, 20, with two black eyes – broke bread together and laughed off the bruises the night after the fisticuffs.

“A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah – that’s a miracle,” said Adler, an honors student at Hunter College.

“He’s basically a hero. Hassan jumped in to help us.”

Also, poor Askari was also one of the first to be hand-cuffed (I don’t know what to make of that…whether it was just a reactionary thing in mayhem or a first-stereotype-based assumption?), only to be released when Adler told the police that Askari was helping!

It is interesting that one of the attackers (who denies the whole charge) has been involved in anti-black crime before:

Joseph Jirovec, 19 – the son of a city firefighter who is currently serving in Iraq – has pleaded guilty to a 2005 bias crime against blacks.

As I will explore in the series on Islamophobia, you will find that many of the bigots who are anti-Muslim are also racist. And racism spans many things: color, religion, race, nationality, etc. Bigots are opportunist… they exploit what is most convenient at the time.

In conclusion, GOOD JOB Hassan, for acting like a Muslim. Standing up for justice and against oppression, in whatever little way and whatever little form. For engaging in one of the correct forms of jihad! Whenever New York Post reports anything positive about Muslim, that is a day to be recorded in history books!

Also talking about it: MR , Naeem

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Faisal

    December 13, 2007 at 12:28 PM

    This was a refreshing story to read in the media. I read the article on CNN and there is a video too,
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/12/subway.attack/index.html?eref=rss_topstories#cnnSTCVideo

  2. Haris

    December 13, 2007 at 12:55 PM

    Aoa,

    Glad to hear some positive come out from the Main-Stream-Media.

    Ma’as-salama

    Btw Youtube featured a video Called “I Am A Muslim” & the vid has had more then 1.2 million hits. The video is ok but the fact that Youtube Featured it on its front page for 4 – 5 dayz is just Amazing.

  3. MR

    December 13, 2007 at 12:58 PM

    I used “Christian Extremists” in my title.

    I don’t plan on removing it. I’m imitating the best of news reporting: Fox News! :-D hahaha

  4. ...

    December 13, 2007 at 1:41 PM

    aww @ least he appreciated hassan’ help (not that we need appreciation from anyone else besides Allah swt) ..

  5. ...

    December 13, 2007 at 1:45 PM

    btw, i take the same Q train from same station where he pulled the emergency brake..lol…glad i wasnt in train that time =)

  6. Moiez

    December 13, 2007 at 2:44 PM

    Tabarakallah! I know this may sound bad but did Hassan lay some smack on those “thugs” lol, I mean you wrote what happened to the heroes but what happened to the Zeros?

  7. Pingback: Muslim Hero Helps Jewish Guy on Hannukah « Diary of a mad muslim woman

  8. Solomon2

    December 13, 2007 at 6:58 PM

    Let’s all work towards creating the day when stories like this will no longer be considered newsworthy by a free and sensationalist press.

  9. Abu Bakr

    December 13, 2007 at 8:03 PM

    “Jews killed Jesus on Hanukkah”.

    Err, it was Passover… and they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him. It was only made to appear such to them.

    : )

  10. H. Ahmed

    December 13, 2007 at 9:52 PM

    the NY Subway rules
    .
    Check out this link:

    http://www.nypost.com/video/?vxSiteId=0db7b365-a288-4708-857b-8bdb545cbd0f&vxChannel=PostNoAds&vxClipId=1458_209345&vxBitrate=700

    Im pleased at how the media covered this. Especially the NY Post (owned by Fox News). Its great how in the interview Hassan mentioned how Islam taught him to be kind and courteous.

    Sorry, but im gonna play the devil’s advocate here, but i dont really like all the vibe being portrayed regarding how… wow! a muslim helped out a jew – like thats so out of the norm or something. I mean its a nice news story – but even Adler mentioned how that in of itself was a miracle – for a muslim to defend a jew. Its as if he was shocked that one of them Muslims would actually defend a Jew!

    Jews and Muslims get along quite well, especially here in New York!

    I agree with Solomon – a Muslim helping a Jew – should not be a newsworthy story due to their respective religions. But at the same time it is commendable to show a Muslim hero :)

  11. Amad

    December 13, 2007 at 10:09 PM

    I have a Jewish lawyer among my group-mates in school. We help each other all the time. Life is full of miracles, isn’t it? :)

    Butttt… we deserve a good story after the endless string of bad ones. If horrible stories can get sensationalized, why not good ones sometimes? :)

  12. H. Ahmed

    December 13, 2007 at 10:44 PM

    touche

  13. LivingHalal

    December 14, 2007 at 5:22 AM

    Here is another good news about Muslims (guess what, again Muslims from Bangladesh)
    http://livinghalal.blogspot.com/2007/12/livinghalal-in-action-waste-concern.html#links

  14. muhsinmuttaqi

    December 18, 2007 at 12:02 AM

    Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahee wa Barakatu

    If a group of Muslims attack Jewish passengers or a nun on the street, how should the Muslim bystanders react. Should he interfere and defend the Jew or nun against the Muslims?

    If the people were not Christians, but Muslims would he have behaved in the same manner?

    Muslims should always help the oppressed against the oppressor be the oppressor Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Pagan. The du’aa of the oppressed reaches Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala even if the oppressed is a non-believer.

    Allah knows best

  15. Amad

    December 18, 2007 at 12:15 AM

    Thank you Muhsin for your good points. It is the Muslim’s duty to help the oppressed, regardless of the religion of the oppressor. The concept of justice is supreme in Islam, and BOTH (a) being not part of oppression or (b) preventing and stopping oppression have no conditions with regards to the religion of the oppressor or oppressed. This was the gold-standard set by the Prophet (S) and the khulafa rashidoon (the rightly-guided caliphs).

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