Sunday, January 20, 2008

Religious Tolerance Put to the Test

Last night at work as things wound down, a friend of mine told me about something that happened at the Jay Street/Borough Hall subway stop, a stop in Brooklyn that is close to Manhattan and is a transfer point between the F, A, and C trains.

Arab men and women got on my friend's F train and split up. The men got into different corners and began to pray loudly and the women, dressed in full garb (and sunglasses), were using one of those clicker/counters to count...something. The only real explanation would be that they were counting the number of people. I can't imagine they were counting the number of Jameson Whiskey ads around the car.

Needless to say, the other passengers on the car got off at the next stop.

We're in a very dangerous time. Because there are people who want to kill us, we probably should be on our guard. But New York is a highly liberal area, as much of a target as it is, and it tries its hardest to be tolerant of all lifestyles. The problem is, there's no way to know who is benevolent (which I would assume is most people) and who is not. And when something of this nature occurs on a subway, the New York response is, initially, to be tolerant of it. However, this is a case where people tested this tolerance to the limit.

This is apparently the second time this month my friend has seen this. She wondered if she should have said something, figuring someone probably did. Almost everyone she talked to, including me, said, "Yeah, probably should have."

To anyone who could possibly know better, I'd like to hear a good explanation for this behavior on a train. This goes beyond religion when you step onto a crowded car and make a spectacle of yourself. This is weird and disturbing to most people. This is post-9/11 and I don't think this kind of thing is acceptable. If your religion believes that you must go and, intentionally or not, look like a coordinated reconnaissance team, then your religion needs alterations.

I more than lean on the side that this was a malevolent event.

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At 1/21/2008 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

It would certainly freak me out. I wouldn't cause a scene, though, just be off on the next stop.


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