Arab-American group joins effort to unseat Sen. Marty Golden
The Arab-American and Muslim communities of Bay Ridge have grown considerably during the past 20 years, and many of their members have become politically active. The Rev. Khader El-Yateem’s unsuccessful campaign for City Council last year mobilized many in the community, and organizers from the campaign have put together an organization known as Yalla Brooklyn, roughly meaning “Let’s Go Brooklyn.”
Now, according to WNYC, Yalla Brooklyn has joined the effort to unseat the area’s Republican State Sen. Marty Golden and elect Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes. Yalla Brooklyn organizers say the Arab-American community has traditionally been conservative, with some even voting for President Donald Trump, but that many who are registered Republicans now want to switch to the Democratic Party.
Many in the local Arab-American community “have never forgotten that Marty Golden once signed a letter praising the NYPD’s surveillance program of the Muslim community after the Sept. 11 attack,” WNYC said.
In addition, Golden reportedly said that one of the 9/11 hijackers was from Bay Ridge, although Golden’s staff said the senator had mixed up the 9/11 incident with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in which one of the defendants indeed once lived in the neighborhood.
At a recent meeting between Gournardes and Arab-American community leaders in Bay Ridge, organizer Mohammad Al-Sawaer told Gounardes, “You are our candidate. Everyone here loves you and hates Marty Golden,” WNYC reported.
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