Voices in Focus: Muslim Charter School to Open in Flushing

Today in our roundup from New York’s community and ethnic press, we have a crack-down by the New York Bureau of Consumer Affairs; an op-ed about what President Barack Obama’s shift on immigration policy means for Haitians; a Muslim charter school opening in Flushing, Queens; and the passing of Richard Cosby, war hero and father of journalist Rita Cosby.

* The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs ran a crackdown on small businesses recently, the Korea Times reported. Many Korean owners who were fined said they were unaware of the fine print in the regulation. An excerpt is translated below.

On July 9, Think Pink Nails in Manhattan was fined $250 by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, because it only posted the service fee rates for men in the shop.

“I am required to correct [the error,] because posting only the men’s service charges is illegal,” sighed Eunhye Lee, the owner. “After the crackdown, I know that [shops] should post the charges for both men and women, and should not include vague information such as ‘$20 and up.’”

One businessman blamed the agency for inconsistency in setting its rules.

“Just two years ago, when stores posted a minimum dollar amount for the use of a credit card, which was illegal, they were fined. However, now when stores don’t, then they are fined,” said Hosu Kwak, the president of [a Korean business association]. “The worst part is that before they are fined, owners are not told which rule they should follow.”

* The Haitian Times analyzed the political rationale behind President Obama’s executive order that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to stay and work here, arguing that it “illustrates the political influence of the immigration reformers.”

This influence is earned through decades of coordination, community-based organizing and leveraging top-brass resources. This is the kind of long-view approach the Haitian community (and its allies) needs to master in order to compel this President — and any other political leader — to act on issues that are a priority for us.

Advocates have called on President Obama to expedite visa applications for Haitian families. Perhaps with proper organizing, the article suggests, Haitians can force the president’s hand the way Latinos have been able to.

Though the Obama administration has yet to move on this pressing issue, the recent shift in overall immigration law enforcement signals a reason for cautious optimism, as it provides a teachable moment for the Haitian community.

* The Queens Chronicle reported that a former detox center in Flushing will be the new home of a Muslim charter school.

The facility could open as the Al’Mamoor School as early as the fall, according to Aftab Mannan, inset, joint secretary of the Jamaica Muslim Center. (Michael Tepper via Queens Chronicle)

Aftab Mannan, joint secretary of the Jamaica Muslim Center, said there will be 140 students, from pre-K to seventh grade. “We are hoping that there will not be less, and maybe we will have more,” Mannan added.

Some neighbors were displeased by the news.

Rabbi Yonason Karman of the yeshiva does have concerns, however — not about the religious differences, but about more mundane neighborhood matters.

“I was not aware,” Karman said, when notified of his incoming neighbor. “Nobody spoke to us about it. I’m not very happy. Another school just means congestion and rivalry in the neighborhood, and the neighbors have finally settled down with us coming here. Another school spoke to us about coming and we told them to back off.”

* Richard Cosby, a Polish resistance fighter during World War II and hero of the Warsaw Uprising, passed away last month after a long battle with cancer, Nowy Dziennik reported. Cosby, who was always quiet about his wartime history and his escape from a Nazi prisoner of war camp, gained fame in 2010 after his daughter, the TV news anchor and reporter Rita Cosby, set his life story down in words. Here is an excerpt. Cosby was 86.