More than half a century ago, Teaneck, New Jersey, which sits in the shadow of New York City just across the Hudson River, became one of the first American communities to voluntarily integrate its public schools. Now, the town that residents describe as a “progressive and multicultural” suburb once again has forged a new path, selecting a practicing Muslim as mayor – and a devout Orthodox Jew to be his deputy.
“No where else is this possible,” said Mohammed Hameeduddin, Teaneck’s first Muslim mayor and one of only a handful of Muslims to lead cities across the country. “The opportunity to bring two communities together and break down stereotypes that have belittled our nation is both monumental and humbling.”
Teaneck’s non-partisan Township Council last week voted to appoint Hameeduddin and Adam Gussen, both current council members, to their respective posts, which they will hold for two years. Together, they will govern what is Bergen County’s second largest municipality and home to significant African American, Orthodox Jewish and Muslim populations.