Another Muslim contribution to America. via Kosher food-cart vendor says he’s blocked by ‘halal mafia’ in NYC | New York Post.
There is no peace in the Mideast — or Midtown.
A Jewish kosher-food purveyor says he’s being prevented from settling in the heart of Manhattan by the “halal mafia.”
Yisroel Mordowitz insists he just wants to peacefully peddle sandwiches piled high with brisket or pastrami from his Holy Rollers cart in the lucrative Rockefeller Center area, 48th Street off Sixth Avenue.
But a group of irate Egyptian competitors block the kosher vendor from setting up on the sidewalk, literally squatting on the curb or placing umbrellas and beverage cartons to cordon off the space.
“This guy is hungry — hungry for money,” bellowed 48th Street Sabrett-slinger Mohamed Mossad, who along with nearly a dozen others successfully kept Mordowitz off the block. “I have a family, too!”
“Why doesn’t he go to 47th Street?” Mossad shouted, referring to the Hasidim-heavy Diamond District. “He’s just coming to this particular spot, and he wants to grab it from me — and kill me, actually. Kill my business.”
The Holy Rollers adhere to strict kosher guidelines, and their Muslim rivals sell halal food prepared in accordance with Islamic law. For both, pork is a no-no, but there are differences in how meat must be slaughtered and prepped.
Escalating tensions so concerned Avram Wolpin, the mashgiach — or on-site supervisor who certifies food as kosher — that he feared a veritable falafel fatwa. He told Mordowitz he was worried he would “disappear.”
After two unsuccessful attempts to work on Sixth, Mordowitz made his exodus southwestward to 35th Street and Ninth Avenue, near B&H Photo, the Hasidic-run electronics megastore.
“I thought I could bring peace to Midtown,” lamented Mordowitz, 30, of Queens. “I’m not an enemy — I’m a friend.”
The Holy Rollers opened without incident on 48th Street on Monday, raked in about $2,000 on Tuesday from tourists and Midtown office workers, but were under blockade by Wednesday.
“This is not Palestine!” one vendor shouted, according to Mordowitz.
The kosher vender said, “They’re trying to say that the Jews in Israel are pushing people out, so don’t do it here.”
Mordowitz said one rival even followed managing partner Yosef Salzbank around in a Jeep Cherokee, making sure he parked the cart far enough away.
“I said, ‘Why are you terrorizing me?’ ” Mordowitz recalled.
But the halal hawkers say they’re not the haters.
“He said I am a terrorist. He says I bombed the Twin Towers. That’s racist,” recalled Mossad, who insisted his objections have nothing to do with religion.
“To me, it’s not about him being a Jew.”
Licenses granted by the city do not specify where vendors must locate, but the city can force vendors to move for a variety of reasons, including being parked too close to a subway entrance.
Intense competition prompts vendors to arrive with their carts by 3 a.m. to claim a spot, with some camping out overnight.
Even though customers who eat strictly kosher food can’t eat halal — let alone a boiled wiener — a peace agreement, for now, seems remote, leaving the cart to wander the Midtown desert.
“Running corner to corner like this,” Salzbank said. “It’s crazy.”
This can’t be what the founding fathers imagined for America.
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