There are thousands of Muslims who live and work in New York. They probably need PR more than anyone else in the country, mainly because the tragic 9/11 events took place there. There was tramendous backlash against Muslims immediately following 9/11. Many women took off their scarves in fear of being targeted. Men shaved off their beards. People stopped praying at work for fear of persecution (yes, that still happens in America, although in a more subtle and sneaky manner). Mosques were attacked, people were ambushed on the streets, and families were harassed at their homes.
The air has cleared a lot since then, but Muslims undeniably have to fight Islamophobia on a daily basis. Pamela Geller reminded us that New York is the perfect place to spread Islamophobia, because of its diversity and ironic tolerance, when she placed anti-Islam ads on New York’s MTA subways. Recently, she placed ads related to journalist, James Foley, who was killed by ISIS. This is the smartest PR any Islamophobic person can implement. It has the ability to truly affect New Yorkers by appealing to their emotions.
Americans have had a roller coaster of emotions and opinions as it relates to Islam and Muslims. They are conflicted over what they feel as a 2010 PewResearch poll indicated. With recent events that unfolded in Iraq and Syria, emotions could run higher. The trends of ups and downs in polls prior to 2010, however, suggest that a similar mix of feelings may exist. This means there is an opportunity for Muslims to open up dialogue and to build relationships with non-Muslim New Yorkers.
The great thing about New York is in fact its diversity. People are more open minded and tolerant with foreigners because it is such a norm. New York would definitely be open to perceiving Muslims in a more positive way.