On Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City schools will begin to observe the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.
The official press conference accompanying the announcement was decidedly strange, with de Blasio and his retinue of New York public officials using it as an opportunity to praise religion without mentioning God, ridiculously over hype the event’s significance, and otherwise use the event to be as awkwardly liberal as possible.
1. “One nation, under all.”
Letitia James, New York’s public advocate, wanted to praise New York and America as a beacon of religious diversity, but apparently also didn’t want to mention God. Instead, she said something that didn’t make any sense. What does it even mean for a nation to be “under all?” Is it the opposite of overalls? Does it imply having one nation is actually the least valuable thing imaginable? Is it like being one nation under a groove?
2. “Fifty years ago, Dr. King led a march from Selma to Montgomery, and tore down the walls of racism. Muslim community, this is your Selma.”
Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams swung for the fences with his comparisons, directly likening the effort to add two extra holidays to the school calendar with the effort to bring down Jim Crow. Sure, Muslim activists weren’t attacked by dogs or brutally killed, and they weren’t campaigning for something as momentous as voting rights or an end to a century of segregation, but other than that, yeah, the two have a lot in common.
3. “People like Debbie and Linda, they are the Rosa Parks and the Sojourner Truths.”
Adams wasn’t done, and decided to double down by comparing advocates for the new holidays with crusaders against slavery. Sojourner Truth, of course, was an escaped slave and one of the country’s most famous female abolitionists. Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and the one who apparently warrants this comparison, is not an escaped slave, and has spent more time comparing Israel to aparteid-era South Africa than she has attacking slavery. Of course, upon further reflection, having to sit around in public schools against one’s will is a lot like slavery.
4. “We have just begun. Now that you have the winds at your back…it is time to ensure that when you go into your mosque, that police officers are not in there, not allowing you the right to worship.”
Adams wasn’t ready to stop, and transformed the calendar change into a demand that New York police stop observing mosques as possible breeding grounds for Islamic terrorism. For the record, just last week, three men in Brooklyn were arrested for allegedly planning to aid ISIS, and the group has claimed to be plotting an attack on the city. (RELATED: #NotAllMuslims Arrested In New York For Trying To Join ISIS)
5. “Is Mayor de Blasio the same in Arabic?”
Only the first of many odd, awkward comments by the very European de Blasio as he tried to show his multicultural bona fides. In this case, he put the schoolteacher introducing him on the spot by asking her to introduce him in Arabic as well as English.
6. “Now, because it’s New York City, and we are talking about the importance of the Muslim community…I will now talk about the Eid holidays in Spanish. Only in New York, brothers and sisters!”
In an effort to promote linguistic inclusiveness, de Blasio concluded an English-language speech of about 10 minutes by tossing in a few sentences of Spanish right at the end.
7. “I always enjoy hearing the Arabic chant ‘Si, se puede.'”
De Blasio got witty after happy activists compared the new holidays to the efforts of Cesar Chavez to improve the dreadful lot of migrant farm workers.
8. “What are you trying to say, brotha?”
De Blasio urges a black man at the back of his press conference to be clearer with his question.
9. “Could we formulate an award for the question we didn’t prep for, and whoever gets it, if they add up enough points during the year, they get free dinner?”
De Blasio extemporized how to reward reporters for coming prepared, after being caught off-guard by a question about how the new holidays would affect the summer school calendar.
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