The New York Post has been the subject of extensive criticism in recent days, after the Rupert Murdoch-owned publication ran an offensive cover story targeting Representative Ilhan Omar. Critics have denounced the newspaper's inflammatory coverage as islamophobic and an attempt to delegitimize one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress.
On Thursday, the Post published a photo of the Twin Towers, engulfed in flames following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the caption, "Rep. Ilhan Omar: 9/11 was 'Some people did something,'" above a subhead that read, "Here's your something ... 2,977 people dead by terrorism." The quote the newspaper was referencing was an isolated excerpt from a speech Rep. Omar gave at a banquet hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations last month.
"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," she said. "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." According to NPR, CAIR was founded in 1994.
On Saturday, the Yemeni American Merchants Association, which represents thousands of Yemeni-American bodega owners across New York City, penned a letter to announce that they will no longer distribute the New York Post. In the statement, the organization argues that the tabloid's provocative cover story, "aims to harm Omar and her family and other people of the Islamic faith."
The group also stated that this type of inflammatory coverage puts the safety of the entire Muslim-American community at risk. "This rhetoric threatens the safety and wellbeing of Omar, Muslim leaders, and the larger Muslim American community at a time when Islamophobia is at an all-time high," it said in a statement.
In a statement to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the organization explained that the offensive coverage the newspaper has published in the past contributed to the decision to boycott. “It’s not the first time that the New York Post basically spreads hate and fear in their newspapers," Ayyad Algabyali, the group's advocacy director explained. He then explained that the boycott may be permanent.
In 2017, members of the organization closed down their stores in 2017 to protest Donald Trump's ban on Muslims traveling to the United States. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, a fellow freshman Congresswoman, took to Twitter to applaud the actions the community has taken in response to the attacks on Rep. Omar.
"Two years ago, Bodega owners across NYC (& cheered by neighbors) shut their shops citywide to protest Trump’s
#MuslimBan," the freshman Congresswoman wrote. "Today, that same community is banding together to reject sales of the NY Post at bodegas citywide. This is what real unity (& NYC solidarity) looks like."