Yemeni Bodegas Boycott NY Post After Ugly Cover

Photo via Rabyaa Althaibani Twitter.

BAY RIDGE – Yemeni businesses in Brooklyn are boycotting the NY Post after the paper published a cover with a partial quote by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar along with a photo of the World Trade Center burning.

On March 23, Omar delivered a speech at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet in California. In her speech, she spoke about the struggles Muslims have been facing in America. In her 20-minute speech, she said:

“Far too long, we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange, that I am going to try to make myself look pleasant. You have to say, ‘This person is looking at me strange. I am not comfortable with it. I am going to go talk to them and ask them why.’ Because that is a right you have.'”

The NY Post then published a cover many called “ugly.” The cover had a photo of the World Trade Centers burning, with a heading that said, “Rep. Ilhan Omar: 9/11 was ‘some people did something.'” At the bottom of the cover, it stated, “Here’s your something. 2,977 people dead by terrorism.”

The cover prompted Yemeni businesses to decide to boycott the NY Post – meaning – they would no longer be supplying the paper in their bodegas.

Rashid Nasher, the owner of 4 Ave Fine Food, located on 514 4th Avenue, told Bklyner he’s been boycotting the NY Post for years now. In fact, it started when the store belonged to his dad. One day, he said he was contacted by someone at the NY Post as to why they haven’t been selling their papers.

“I told them you’re biased and I don’t agree with your views,” Nasher recalled telling them years ago. “This time, I was enraged but not surprised. It’s not a newspaper, it’s a tabloid. I truly believe their views are against the Muslim community.”

According to Yemeni-American organizer and activist Rabyaah Althaibani, “This boycott is in no way targeting free press. The NY Post has a long dark history of targeting communities of color and in particular the Arab/Muslim community. And while the Post has the right to selling hate, we have the right not to sell it in our bodegas.”

Photo via Rabyaah Althaibani Twitter.

The Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA), which organized the bodega strike, where 5,000 businesses protested President Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban, also organized the NY Post Boycott. Dr. Debbie Almontaser, YAMA’s board secretary said, “The bigoted and dangerous attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar represent the latest episode in the New York Post’s dark history of racism and irresponsible behavior.”

“We support free speech, but we will not accept the incitement of violence against Muslims or any other group of Americans,” Almontaser said. “We want to use our voices in our communities and beyond to make the case against the NY Post. And say that we will not accept these unconscionable attacks on our families and our neighbors.”

Photo via Rabyaah Althaibani Twitter.

She listed four demands by YAMA:

  1. “We demand a public apology to Congresswoman Omar, Muslim Americans, and minorities who have been persistently victimized by the New York Post’s propaganda that spreads nothing but hate and fear to the streets of New York City.”
  2. “We demand the New York Post change their cheap and sensational tabloids that undermine national unity and entice violence and hate for the sole purpose of circulation and sales against minority communities.”
  3. “We demand the firing of New York Post’s editor in chief Stephen Lynch who has demonstrated clear viciousness and intent to spread racism and hysteria that leads to violence against our communities, especially in times when Islamophobia is at its highest levels.”
  4. “We demand elected officials/government officials to stop giving the New York Post any platforms to spread hate and racism in this multicultural city and across the nation at large!”

“Proud to stand in solidarity with @YAMAMerchants as they declare a boycott of the New York Post,” Council Member Brad Lander tweeted. “The Post has the first amendment right to peddle hate & Islamophobia. But Muslim bodega owners don’t have to sell it. And we don’t have to buy it.”

Photo via Rabyaah Althaibani Twitter.

Though Ilhan Omar is from Somalia, her mother and grandfather were from Yemen. At the YAMA Gala in February, Omar was the keynote speaker.

“I know that the Yemeni community has a special fight in their heart, that they have a big drive, they know what hard work looks like, they are tenacious, they can be a little tough, they have a lot of fight in them, and there’s a special spirit that is in their blood,” Omar said at the time. “It’s the spirit that used to be in my ummi’s blood, in my mom’s blood. It’s the spirit that was in my grandfather’s blood. It’s what he passed on to me.”

She referenced the bodega strike of 2017 and said, “Because when people saw 5,000 Yemeni merchants and their neighbors rising up, they knew that Muslims here in the United States were not playing. That we were no longer going to sit on the sidelines. That we weren’t afraid and we recognized our power.”

She iterated the fact that Muslims don’t have a reason to hide and should stand up for themselves.

“People get to walk around us and talk about us as if we’re invisible… We don’t have a reason to hide ourselves. We don’t have a reason to shy away from being a Muslim unapologetically,” she said. “So what I ask you to do is to help me, to help yourself, to help our children, and to help the generation not yet born to shape a beautiful narrative of what it means to be Muslim not only in this country but in this world.”

Council Member Justin Brannan told Bklyner that the NY Post boycott is one that is easy to understand. He said he supports the Yemeni businesses.

“If they don’t wanna sell the NY Post, they don’t have to sell the NY Post. The whole ‘free country’ thing goes both ways,” he said. “Why should Yemeni business owners choose to sell a newspaper which is helping President Trump spread hate and incite violence against their brothers and sisters? If this is what it’s gonna take to get the NY Post to think twice about fanning Islamophobic flames right now then I’m all in.”

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Zainab Iqbal

Zainab is a staff reporter at Bklyner who sometimes writes poetry in her free time ||


  1. Far left Bklyner squelches First Amendment right to publish. You just reprint news releases supporting anti-Jewish politicians who disrepect 9/11/01?

  2. I have apolitical friends who just read the Post for the sports section but, over time, they come out with some bigoted statements that are totally opposite the positive world view they had when they were younger. It’s not simply a newspaper—It’s imbued with right-wing jingoism throughout. Most newspapers report neutrally and relegate diverse debate to an Opinions section. The Post (and the Daily News) are opinionated tabloids with an agenda that should function under free speech but not free press. Neo-nazis should be allowed to march in Skokie but should Jewish shop owners be compelled to carry neo-nazi publications? An white male American gun supporters ask us not to group them with the “few bad apple” white male mass shooters yet many of them are happy to group all muslims with terrorists and support racial profiling. You can thank the Post and other wildly successful Murdoch “news” outlets for this.

  3. Brad Lander once again shows that he is unfit to represent New Yorkers. When 9/11 occurred, Lander must have been sitting comfortable in his Chicago suburban home while this city was in total chaos. All 19 terrorists that day were Muslims, including at least 1 from Yemen. Historically, boycotts do not work as those who organize boycotts may find themselves being boycotted, especially as the Post has a very large readership. Newspapers also have been known to bring people in who will then buy cigarettes, soda, candy, etc., so these stores may lose considerable business without the Post. I do agree with comment above that you site shows an anti-Jewish and anti-American slant. Brad Lander has consistently shown that he represents himself, immigrants, illegal residents and expects that the working class support others as he is a socialist who favors regressive taxes. For example, the new Cuomo bag tax will hurt the poor, the elderly, our children and middle class shoppers while the rich like Cuomo and Lander will never be affected. Cuomo and Lander have been repeated sound bites over and over again about plastic bags in the ocean but it is the Pacific Ocean which is polluted with plastic originating in China, not New York State. Instead of concentrating in solving the important issues such as already high taxes, poorly run schools, lost of jobs especially upstate, people fleeing to other states, terrible mass transit, potholed roads, lack of affordable housing, homeless, drugs, crime, etc., Cuomo instead manufactured a plastic bag crisis and without speaking to the average person about what they want, appointed a commission of his lackeys who recommended the end of plastic bags and have supermarket only provide paper bags, at a cost of 5 cents each. And people ask me why I am voting for Trump next year.

  4. it is obviously muslims who are committing the vast majority of terrorist acts across the world. which other religion is doing this en-masse? if you keep doing something wrong, you will be called out for it. that’s not bigotry. that’s pattern recognition and calling a spade a spade. 9/11 sounds like a joke to someone who was not affected by it. these tragedies should not be brought into politics especially when they are trivialized. some things should remain sacred and off limits. and no, i was not affected on a personal level by 9/11. i am not asking for sympathy or “off with muslim heads!”

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