There are many people in the world who hate those of the Jewish faith. Many of those people are Muslim. There are many people in the world who hate those of the Islamic faith. Many of those people are Jewish.
Jews, Gentiles, Muslims, Catholic, Protestants, Hindu…… it doesn’t matter. Too often the faith to which a person allegedly lovingly ascribes results in an accompanying hatred of those in another faith.
Certainly there is a great deal of hatred to go around and much of that hatred has a component of faith, or lack of faith, to it.
We don’t want to give the impression that we are some pollyannish believer who wants to gather everyone around a campfire and sing “Kumbaya” or “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” We are not that naive. We know there is great hatred in the world between those of certain religious beliefs and those without religious beliefs.
That being said, a story coming out of New York has caught our eye.
Coney Island Bialys and Bagels claims to be the oldest bialy bakery in New York City. Founded in 1920, it’s faced hard economic times and changing neighborhood demographics.
Now, the shop has been rescued by two Pakistani Muslims — and they’re keeping it kosher.
You read that right. A Jewish bagel store has been bought by two Muslims who are keeping the store kosher.
It is more than that though. One of the men who is taking over the store, Zafaryab Alimen, worked for the Jewish owners for over a decade.
Holy bagels and lox Batman! Jews and Muslims working together for over a decade!
There are going to be skeptics to this and maybe rightfully so. In the comments of the linked NPR article, there are accusations of the profits from the store now going to fund terrorism, rejoicing at the failure of a “dirty Jews,” etc. (And we would bet many of those who make those comments consider themselves “good ::insert name of religion here::”)
For whatever reason – whatever omnipotent being, force or cosmic alignment of the stars – this one shop in Coney Island should serve as a beacon to all people in simply getting along with each other. If men of different faiths can work side by side and respect the beliefs of each other, that is a lesson we should all take to heart.
For example, the bagel shop shows we can have things in common we may not realize:
As for keeping the bakery kosher, Ali says, “Kosher and halal is very, very close, like brother and sister, maybe twins.”
Ali and Shah say the only thing remaining is official kosher supervision and certification. They are looking for a rabbi to bless and supervise.
In the end, there will be those who are so full of hatred they will wish for or strive for a Kosher bagel store in New York founded by Jews and now run by Muslims to fail.
True Americans, however, will root for the shop to succeed and flourish, drawing more people into the idea we all can exist together while still observing our individual faiths.