Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A Bialy Shop’s Unlikely Muslim Saviors

The New York Times (3 November 2011) reports on the actions of two Muslims brothers to save a Jewish Bakery from the 1920's:

"When the owner of Brooklyn’s oldest bialy store, Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, announced last summer that he was closing up shop, fans began mourning the impending loss of a 91-year-old piece of Jewish culinary history.

But the shop has been saved, and from an unlikely corner — at least as far as geopolitics are concerned. The new owners? Peerzada Shah, 43, and Zafaryab Ali, 52, a pair of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan.

The new shopkeepers have a sanguine approach to their possibly groundbreaking foray into cross-cultural culinary terrain. “Not too many people in this business are Pakistani,” Mr. Ali said. “Just a few. So I am happy, very glad.” Jews and Muslims, he said, “live together in New York. We never have a problem.”

Minutes later, Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, walked into the shop, crying, “Salaam Aleikum!”

“Brooklyn has the largest Pakistani population in America,” he told Mr. Shah and Mr. Ali. “We also have the largest Jewish population in America. So what could be a better Brooklyn story?”

“It’s a Brooklyn story of how the world can someday be at peace,” Mr. Markowitz said."

Read the full article here.

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