Meet Aliou Niasse

MEET ALIOU NIASSE…. To the relief of some, the man apparently responsible for the failed Times Square car bomb was a Muslim immigrant. Zaid Jilani reminds us of a relevant point: the man who alerted the authorities to the car bomb was also a Muslim immigrant.

Aliou Niasse, a street vendor selling framed photographs of New York, said that he was the first to spot the car containing the bomb, which pulled up right in front of his cart on the corner of 45th street and Broadway next to the Marriott hotel.

“I didn’t see the car pull up or notice the driver because I was busy with customers. But when I looked up I saw that smoke appeared to be coming from the car. This would have been around 6.30pm.”

“I thought I should call 911, but my English is not very good and I had no credit left on my phone, so I walked over to Lance, who has the T-shirt stall next to mine, and told him. He said we shouldn’t call 911. Immediately he alerted a police officer nearby,” said Mr Niasse, who is originally from Senegal and who has been a vendor in Times Square for about eight years.

For those who are inclined to treat Muslim-Americans as second-class citizens — or, in the case of the truly unhinged, deport Muslim-American immigrants — keep Aliou Niasse in mind.