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Astoria Community Denounces Recent Anti-Muslim Assault

Sadyia Khalique, CAIR-NY

Sadyia Khalique, CAIR-NY

May 6, 2016 By Michael Florio

Local officials gathered Friday to speak out against a recent hate crime in Astoria, where three teenagers attacked another while shouting “Isis-Isis.”

One of the three suspects allegedly punched the 19-year-old victim in the face twice and called out “Arab.” As the victim pushed him away, he observed a second man with a pipe in his hand yelling “Isis-Isis” and a third man with a baseball bat in his hands, police said.

The three men allegedly attacked the victim on April 27, at 1:20 p.m. in front of 33-55 10th St.

Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Costa Constantinides gathered Friday morning at the scene of the incident, to speak out against this “vicious and brutal” crime.

“They attacked this young man because they wanted to send a message to both him and his community,” Van Bramer said. “We reject that message.”

“We need to stand strongly against these actions of hate,” Constantinides said. “This is unacceptable in our community.”

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, according to the NYPD.

“We are a welcoming neighborhood and this cannot be tolerated,” Van Bramer said. “A hate crime against one of us is a hate crime against all of us.”

The elected officials also blamed Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump for spreading hateful rhetoric.

“We have someone running for President who is trying to make racism, discrimination and hate okay,” Constantinides said. “This is never okay.”

“In this heightened political season there is a toxic rhetoric aimed at immigrants and the Muslim community,” Van Bramer added. “We have to reject this because words have power and can lead to violence.”

Members of Muslim community groups also spoke.

“We chose to come here for a better life,” Zakia Bifergaane, Case Planner at the Arab American Family Support Center in Long Island City, said. “We have to say no to these hate crimes.”

“I was heartbroken when I heard the news,” Sadyia Khalique, Director of Operations with the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), said. “It could have been my little brother.”

Today’s gathering marks the second time in five months that the Astoria community has joined to denounce an anti-Muslin attack.

Local storeowner Sarker Haque was assaulted for being Muslim in December. The attacker, Piro Kolvani, who has since been arrested, punched Haque in his neck and face several times and said, “I kill Muslims.”

“We stood as a neighborhood with him [Haque],” Constantinides said. “Today we stand with this 19-year-old young man to again say, this is unacceptable.”

Anyone with information about last week’s attack is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

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When is the next meeting about this arab guy, there cause problems n we shld kiss there ass please, i live next two 15 of them n they can call us dum American n thats ok, we have better problem to wrry about then these ppl. Please post up ne t meeting love to show my point of view


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