Anti-Islamic fliers discovered in Bensonhurst apartment complex

NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating

July 30, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The shocking fliers were discovered at Shore Haven, a complex of apartment buildings in Bensonhurst
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The Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating yet another shocking anti-Muslim incident in Brooklyn. On the heels of disturbing incidents in Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay last week, cops are conducting a probe to determine who left anti-Islamic fliers in a Bensonhurst apartment complex on July 26.

The fliers, which spewed hate, were left at Shore Haven, a sprawling set of 30 apartment buildings on Cropsey Avenue.

NY1 News reported that the fliers read: “Islamists go to your country. USA hates you. You are terrorists and bastards. You are the second Holocaust.”

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Det. James Duffy, a Police Dept. spokesman, told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email that cops responded to a call about one flier that was left in the hallway in front of a 65-year-old woman’s apartment at approximately 12:07 a.m. on Saturday and that officers found an additional 10 fliers when they did a search of the area.

“While conducting a canvass, officers located 10 additional fliers that were identical to the first one. No arrests have been made. The 62nd Precinct Detective Squad and the Hate Crime Task Force are investigating the case as a possible bias incident,” Duffy wrote.

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, condemned the fliers. “We are disturbed that in a matter of a few weeks there have been four incidents of hate targeting the Muslim community in Brooklyn. We hope that all people of the borough join us in denouncing this hate and law enforcement do all in their power to apprehend these individuals,” she told the Eagle.

The people who dropped off the fliers “do not represent all that is good in Brooklyn,” Sarsour said.

Sarsour is the lead organizer of a new “Campaign to Take on Hate,” an initiative aimed at fighting  anti-Muslim bias.

The Bensonhurst incident is the latest attack on Muslims in Brooklyn this summer. Police are also investigating incidents in Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay that took place on July 18 and 20.

Assailants threw eggs at worshipers arriving at the Tayba Islamic Center at 2165 Coney Island Ave. for Ramadan services on July 18. The egg throwers also shouted anti-Islamic slurs, according to Manaf Abdul, a spokesman for the mosque. One of the victims, a 72-year-old man, was struck by an egg on the left side of his face, Abdul said.

Another incident took place during the early morning hours of July 20, as worshipers were praying inside the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, a mosque at 6807 Fifth Ave.

Dr. Husam Rimawi, president of the society, said a car pulled up in front of the mosque at 4:30 a.m. with flashing lights and sat there for a long time. Many members of the society were unnerved by the incident and believed that the people inside the car were trying to intimidate them, Rimawi said at a press conference a few days later.

No arrests have been made.

The incidents are taking place at a time when the conflict between Israel and Hamas is intensifying.

Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst) said he was disgusted by the fliers.

“I am disgusted and saddened to hear of this hateful act in our community. There is absolutely no place for this type of hatred, especially in a city and borough as diverse and tolerant as ours. I will continue to work closely with the NYPD and entire community so those responsible for spreading hate will be held accountable and I urge anyone with information to come forward,” Treyger said in a statement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned not only the Shore Haven fliers but also other anti-Muslim crimes that have taken place in recent weeks.

“The recent incidents of hate speech and bias attacks are disgraceful and run counter to the values we cherish most. They are a stain on our collective conscience and we must make clear that there is no tolerance for such behavior. My administration is fully committed to protecting the security of every community of faith across the five boroughs and we refuse to allow these divisive acts and language to threaten the safety of any New Yorker,” the mayor said in a statement.

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