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Police and Fire

Anti-Muslim flier circulated in Bensonhurst building

The New York Police Department is investigating the third in a string of Anti-Muslim hate crimes that have occurred within the last two weeks in Southern Brooklyn. The latest incident, on the heels of hate crimes at mosques in Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay, occurred in a Bensonhurst apartment building.

On Monday, July 28, a flier containing anti-Muslim language was distributed in one of the two buildings in the Shore Haven complex, near Bay 25th Street and Cropsey Avenue. The flier included clip-art style anti-Muslim images and read, in all capital letters: “Islamists! Go to your own country!!! USA hates you!!!”

The leaflet also called the Muslim community “the second Holocaust.”

A photo of the flier was posted to Twitter by Take on Hate “I think that it is just very disheartening that this type of bigotry and hatred is existing in Brooklyn and it just all the more shows that campaigns like Take on Hate are needed,” said Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis who stood with Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York on Tuesday, July 15 to celebrate the launch of the campaign and just one week later, on July 22, at the Bay Ridge mosque to denounce the egging of worshippers on their way to Thayba Islamic Center on Coney Island Avenue and the intimidation of worshippers at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge.

Still, she said, this hate spans more than just the last few weeks, and more than just one religion.

“These actions against Muslims in the community have escalated in recent weeks but we’ve seen other religious groups having hate crimes geared towards them over the last year or so,” Malliotakis told this paper, referencing the desecration of four Bay Ridge religious institutions in July, 2013 – a hate crime that spanned the Jewish, Catholic and Greek Orthodox communities.

“This is something that we’re seeing across all religions in our community and it’s very heartbreaking primarily because, as Americans, religious freedom is one of the most important principals that we hold.”

Sarsour shared similar sentiments. “It’s just really concerning,” she said, noting that this is the fourth incident this month, with anti-Muslim graffiti in Kensington being the first. “I’m just worried that it’s becoming a lot more frequent than it has been for many years and that’s very scary.”

Take on Hate, she said, may be a citywide initiative but its importance to South Brooklyn is one that seems to have come out of left field.

“It’s ironic how we kind of started the campaign to Take on Hate not knowing that it was going to be utilized as much, especially in a place like Brooklyn,” said Sarsour, a lifelong Brooklynite. “This amount of hate is not what I think about Brooklyn.”

Councilmember Mark Treyger agreed.

“I am disgusted and saddened to hear of this hateful act in our community,” he said. “There is absolutely no place for this type of hatred, especially in a city and borough as diverse and tolerant as ours.”

Treyger thanked the 62nd Precinct for what he called a quick response to a heinous act.

“It is my belief that an act of hate against one group is an act of hate against our entire community,” he stressed. “The bottom line is, there is no room in this day and age for these attacks against any member of our community.”

According to cops, the Bensonhurst incident is being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force.

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