Go ahead and try to wrap your mind around the concept of Lutheran halal. (Spoiler: it’s not really cuisine prepared according to the dictates of both Lutheran and Muslim dietary laws, but the name of a coffee shop by Lutheran Medical Center.) It’s as Brooklyn as . . . well, as a large extended family, all dressed up, the women wearing hijabs, smiling for a group photograph in front of Junior’s before their traditional ‘Eid al-Adha feast of pastrami and cheesecake.
I saw that last scene this past September. Around the same time, I also saw a mural honoring a dissident Iranian artist defaced by vandals with paintball guns.
Evidently, the sight of a woman in a head scarf was too much for some of the building’s neighbors, who saw it as dishonoring the memory of 9/11.
Yeah, I know – I don’t get it either.
Since then, we’ve been treated to a stampede of states acting to bar Syrian refugees; one presidential candidate declaring that Muslims should be disqualified from the presidency; and another presidential candidate who variously wants to register, track and ban Muslims (whichever will get him the most applause).
This isn’t an angry post, though. (Well, okay, maybe it’s a little bit angry.) The state of political discourse in the U.S. is pretty disheartening, but I’m convinced the loudest, angriest rhetoric comes from those who are loud and angry because they know they’re losing. Not that loud, angry losers can’t do real damage (to murals and to lives) – but the more they flail, the more they teeter on the edge of history’s dumpster.
The wonderfully weird cultural mash-ups that I see all around me on my Brooklyn runs are the future.
So peace out, and here’s to a better world in 2016 – one where we can all meet for eggs and briskit at the Lutheran Halal Cafe.