TODAY, Friday, May 6th, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Council Member Costa Constantinides held a press conference to denounce the anti-Muslim hate crime that took place last week in Astoria, and called on the community to come forward with information about the suspects. Last Wednesday, April 27th, a group of three teens attacked a 19-year-old man, punching him in the face after yelling “Arab.” One perpetrator allegedly carried a pipe and yelled “ISIS ISIS ISIS” during the attack, while another perpetrator held a baseball bat. The three teens fled when they noticed a bystander watching. The victim suffered minor injuries.
“Anti-Muslim hatred has no place in our community,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.“Today, we stand with the Muslim community and against the disturbing hatred and xenophobia that led to this crime. Unfortunately, there are some very loud voices currently spewing hatred towards our Muslim brothers and sisters. As a lifelong resident of Queens, one of the most diverse communities in the world, I know that our different religions and cultures are cause for celebration, not violence. My thoughts are with the victim of this attack and the Queens Muslim community, and I strongly encourage anyone with information about the perpetrators to come forward.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “This egregious act of violence displays a hatred that is the antithesis of our neighborhood. The strength of our community lies in our diversity. We condemn this assault. Anyone with information about this assault should call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline so that the suspects can be brought to justice.”
According to FBI crime statistics, anti-Muslim hate crimes are still five times as common as they were before September 11th, 2001, and by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s count, New York is home to nine anti-Muslim hate groups, the most of any state. Between 400,000 and 800,000 people living in New York City identify as Muslim.
“We call on local and federal authorities to investigate this attack as a hate crime and urge American Muslims to remain vigilant and take extra safety measures,” said Sadyia Khalique, Director of Operations at the Council on American Islamic Relations-New York. “The lives of Americans have been placed in danger by the rising anti-Muslim hysteria in our nation as this is the second anti-Muslim attack in Astoria, Queens. We need to send a clear message to bigots that these attacks will not be tolerated in our communities and perpetrators of such attacks will face the full weight of the law”
Anyone with information about last Wednesday’s attack is asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by texting 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are kept confidential.