WEST PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTXF) - West Philadelphia residents are making strides to unify their community by supporting their Muslim neighbors.
Every Friday, Mark Mandel and Evan Draper have committed to making sure all residence in their West Philadelphia neighborhood feel included by standing outside the Masjid Al-Jamia Mosque and show their support for who they call their Muslim brothers and sisters.
“Given the way a lot of our political climate has gone, we have to push ourselves to do uncomfortable things to try and get back a feeling of civility, a feeling of community,” Draper said.
Unfortunately, in too many communities it’s not hard to find examples of division and anger. It was because of this that both Mandel and Draper felt it was necessary to take action. The gathering was started by friends at Mark’s synagogue and have been going on since an anti-Muslim demonstration back in February.
The symbolism of a united community is mostly welcomed but there are still occasional odd looks and strange responses. Ultimately, Mandel and Draper feel like their actions are needed and are working. The Muslim community within the neighborhood is responding positively too with members of the synagogue inviting them to a Ramadan dinner. Mandel and Draper intend to continue to support their Muslim neighbors and attempt to understand each other better.