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City leaders unite against rising religious hate crimes

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Mayor Eric Adams and religious leaders convened at City Hall on Friday, emphasizing the need for unity and tolerance. The recent spike, particularly in antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents, prompted the leaders to call for collective action.

Mayor Adams stated, “In this moment of heightened tension around the globe, it is more important than ever that we stand together as one — united against the rising tide of hatred and religious intolerance. And we’re seeing it and we’re feeling it.”

The gathering, coinciding with the start of Hanukkah, aimed to deliver a timely message. Reverend Father Thomas Zain of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral stressed the importance of coming together during challenging times, while Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz highlighted the alarming increase in threats, including 15 bomb threats issued to synagogues just last week.

Recent NYPD crime statistics reveal a 33% increase in hate crimes since November of the previous year, with 96 incidents reported in November 2023 compared to 72 in November 2022. Jews remain the primary targets, accounting for 62 hate crimes this year, marking a 32% increase since last year.

Highlighting specific incidents, the report mentioned a man firing a shotgun outside a Jewish temple in Albany, shouting “Free Palestine,” as well as the assault and robbery of a Jewish man on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.

Rabbi Steinmetz underscored the role of communication in combating antisemitism, stating, “The key to defeating antisemitism is actually found in communication.” He emphasized the importance of people standing together against such acts.

Additionally, the Council on American-Islamic Relations documented a 216% increase in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias incidents since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, with 1,283 incidents compared to the average of 406 complaints in a typical month.

Imam Shamsi Ali, the director of the Jamaica Muslim Center, stressed the significance of unity in challenging times, echoing the sentiment that coming together during difficult moments holds greater importance.

The city has also witnessed a rise in hate crimes against Muslim New Yorkers, including incidents on the subway and a possible anti-Palestinian attack in Bay Ridge. The leaders collectively condemned these acts and called for a united front against religious intolerance.

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