Watch How New York Reacts to This Jewish-Muslim Couple Experiment

(JTA) — What happens when a conspicuously Jewish-Muslim couple walks hand-in-hand through the streets of New York City?

Three YouTube personalities set out to answer that question.

Karim Metwaly teamed up with Alaaldeen Shehadeh and Moe Zahrieh for a video that has garnered nearly 1.3 million views since being posted last week. Last month, Shehadeh and Zahrieh made a similar video together for their YouTube channel MoeLaddin, just without the women.

This time, Shehadeh, dressed as a Hasidic Jew, hits the streets with a religious-Muslim-looking woman. Zahrieh, in traditional Muslim dress, takes a stroll with a woman who looks Orthodox Jewish.

Both couples pass through what the video calls a “Jewish Neighborhood” — apparently Borough Park, Brooklyn — and a “Muslim/Arab neighborhood” that looks to be Astoria, Queens.

Sadly, the resulting footage — set to an ominous score — resembles some of the video experiments filmed in Europe last year, in which reporters wearing kippahs in Arab neighborhoods were taunted and harassed. But it ends on an uplifting note.

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The video’s apparent neighborhood comparison isn’t entirely fair. While Borough Park is a heavily Hasidic area, Astoria is home to several big ethnic communities besides Arabs — including large Greek, Italian and Hispanic populations.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, then, Metwaly doesn’t capture many instances of anti-Semitism or anger aimed at the couples in Queens. He is however stopped by what the video calls a “mob” of Arabs — actually more like a few people — who take offense at the Jewish-Muslim pairings.

One man says, “This is so wrong on so many levels.” Another says, “You’re making Islam look bad.” Another: “That’s war. Try this in Brooklyn.”

The group’s foray into Jewish Brooklyn earns them more-deliberate stares and harsher comments. A group of men call Zahrieh a gay slur. Others accuse him of being “another stupid Muslim” and a “terrorist.” Someone yells and throws a bottle of water at him from an apartment window across the street.

In a surprise twist, the video concludes with a chunk of positive footage. Hasidic boys say Jews and Arabs can be friends. A Hasidic man calls the Muslim-man-and-Jewish-woman pairing a “highly liberating” sight.

A Muslim man says Muslims are related to Jews, and a Muslim woman tells one of the couples they inspire her.

Maybe “New York values” aren’t so bad.

Gabe Friedman is JTA’s editorial assistant. Follow him on Twitter at @GabeFriedman563

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Watch How New York Reacts to This Jewish-Muslim Couple Experiment

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