Despite all of the fierce fighting and debate over the proposed Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site, religious leaders in one Bronx community say they are praying and working hard to get along, all under one roof. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
During the high holy days for the Jewish and Muslim communities, some in the Bronx are praying nearly side by side in the same property. Jews are marking Rosh Hashanah, their new year, while Muslims are celebrating the end of Ramadan, their holy month of fasting. They are worshipping in the same building on Westchester Avenue in the Parkchester area.
Sheikh Moussa Drammeh is the managing owner of the building on Westchester Avenue in Parkchester and has provided the Orthodox Beis Menachum Synagogue with a store front — free of charge.
“They lost the place of their owner due to not being able to pay them. So my job now is to tell them, I want to do as much as I can while I can,” Drammeh said.
Muslim and Jewish worshipers at the center say while there’s plenty of arguing and debate about religions, they want to show most people of faith can, and do, get along.
“Allah made it very clear that Muslims, Christians and Jews that believe in God, and believe in the day of judgment, and of doing that right thing have nothing to fear. That’s makes us to be very very bonded,” Drammeh said.
“I don’t want to interfere with anybody’s religion. I believe my Muslim, yes, they believe their religion, but I respect. Everybody got to respect each other and work together,” said Abdus Shaahid of the Bangladeshi American National Democratic Society.
Members of the synagogue told NY1 that they could not speak on camera, because on their holiday they can not use electricity or a microphone. However, the station’s cameras were allowed inside to tape the prayer services.
Off camera, worshipers tell NY1 they agree all religions need to work hard to get along and should pray for one another. They also say they are thankful for the Muslims who are helping the older Jewish members of the community, who have declined in number and can’t afford their own house of worship.
Others say it’s an important message and image for the children in the community.