New York City is reportedly removing 11 distinct Islamic names on downtown sidewalks because Muslims find this type of recognition insulting.
On Broadway, between Rector Street and Exchange Place, names are engraved into the sidewalk to respect notable figures of New York. One etching is the name of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the former Shah of Iran who was a vital ally to the United States.
“It was with the utmost respect … that we placed granite markers … to more permanently commemorate them,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, who was facing criticism from prominent Muslims for the claimed insensitive gesture.
“It is a hate crime and must be prosecuted,” Alina Nisar wrote on an online petition in regards to removing the name Mohammad and other Islamic names, as well. Yasir Bhai, the treasurer for One Nation U.S., created a separate petition in 2016 for the name removals, stating, “It really hurts the feelings of people of Muslim faith.”
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, shared a similar sentiment in a statement to the New York Post:
“Walking on an important symbol is a sign of disrespect. As Americans might view walking on an American flag or a grave disrespectful, in Islamic culture, the prophets are some of the most important things in the world.”
Other Islamic names set for the $110,000 removal include Ibrahim, Ahmad, Hassan, and Ali.
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