Is This a Great Town or What?

Why do I doubt that this story in which a Muslim risked his safety for Jews could have taken place in Paris?

Of course, it is a remarkable story and is therefore unlikely to have taken place anywhere. But what I mean is, it is extremely difficult to imagine it taking place in Paris, or even London. Difficult to imagine. The not-so-easy-to-answer question is, why is that?

I do know one thing. New York is special.

In my work interviewing immigrant heroes for the New York Daily News’s Big Town Big Dreams section, I meet some of the city’s kindest and most enterprising people. (The section is dedicated to immigrants who are making a positive difference, so the people featured are, by definition, exceptional). Even so, I am struck by the dedication these New Yorkers – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim -have for others, regardless of race, creed, or religion. Could it be that people who are open-hearted and open-minded tend to come here?

The fact is, a number of the everyday heroes I have interviewed, such as Shadin Hossain, and Muctar Jalloh, are Muslim. They could not care less that I’m a Jew.

This entry was written by and posted on December 19, 2007 at 3:32 pm and filed under Blog.

2 responses to Is This a Great Town or What?
  • 1.

    timey

    December 24, 2007 at 10:44 am


    Your noting of what's open-hearted about the people who make their way to NYC speaks to the matter itself. The open-heartedness of your publisher, editor and yourself make the point. T. Von, Pgh. PA.

  • 2.

    James Taranto

    December 23, 2007 at 3:16 pm


    Yes, it's a great town!