The meeting opened with a pledge from the podium to try to end, God willing, by the hour of the evening prayer. Clusters of colorfully veiled women kept watch over jittery young children. Rows of men conversed in a jangle of languages.
They were Muslims from Bosnia and Montenegro, Egypt and Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh — several hundred in all.
It was a gathering remarkable in its diversity from among New York City's Muslims, a growing group whose members often find it difficult to work together politically because of differences in national origin, language, sect and class. But a single issue has managed to unify them: the push to close the city's public schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the most sacred Muslim holidays.