How New York dealt with religiously motivated hate crimes

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NEW YORK (RNS) — At the New York Islamic Cultural Center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Sheikh Saad Jarrow, Imam of the Center, sits in the middle of a bustling mosque with more than 1,500 members in the metropolitan area where anything goes.

Jaro said the center receives frequent phone calls and emails with bomb threats. People walked their dogs in the mosque’s prayer room and threw garbage in the chief’s place of worship.

Security at the mosque requires contact with the police, and “we have a very good relationship with the 23rd Precinct,” Jarreau said.

“I always give a quick talk right after prayer to the congregation,” Jarrow told the Religious News Service, adding, “Be very kind to your neighbors, treat them well, and have a good relationship between us and them.” Hate should not be tolerated as it can lead to hate crimes and attacks.”

New Yorkers of all faiths face a daunting number of religiously motivated hate crimes and bigotry incidents, among more than 450 confirmed bigotry and hate incidents reported in their cities last year. doing. These attacks ranged from personal (in April two of his Sikh men were robbed and had their turbans ripped from their heads) to last May his Roe v. Wade leaked.

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Imam Saad Jarreau (left) speaks at an event with New York City’s Major Bill de Blasio at the New York Islamic Cultural Center in Manhattan in 2019. Photo credit: ICCNY

In November alone, a Muslim woman was attacked on the subway and two men who threatened a Manhattan synagogue were arrested while carrying high-capacity magazines, among other weapons.

But experts say official statistics are only beginning to capture aspects of hate crimes in New York.

“It is important to say that the number of hate crimes is underreported. and comfort.”

A recent survey funded by OPHC and conducted by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that only 4% of respondents who had experienced a hate crime reported it to the police.

Launched in 2019, Naveed’s office coordinates the city’s response to hate and bigotry discrimination across multiple agencies, from the Department of Education to the Police Department. He also partners with local community groups led by six anchor organizations with a focus on education, community relations and law enforcement.

The anchor group includes the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, based in East Brooklyn. Arab American Society of New York. Asian American League; Hispanic League; Council on Jewish Community Relations; Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project in New York City;

Through these groups, OPHC helped Jewish organizations and synagogues in the city improve security, and helped the Muslim Community Network produce its first hate crimes prevention investigation. Together with the Sikh Coalition, we organized a hate crimes education event for taxi drivers at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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People attend the “No Hate No Fear” rally in New York in January 2020. The main organizers of this event were his JCRC of New York, CSI and his UJA federation of New York. The rally came in the aftermath of attacks against Jewish communities in Jersey City, New Jersey and Monsey, New York. Community Security Service volunteers provided security at the scene. Photo courtesy of CSS

The office also facilitates workshops on how to apply for security grants and distributes information on reporting hate crimes in a variety of languages ​​to reach deeper into immigrant communities.

“We as a society have to take everything we know and figure out how to really change the way we think,” said Naveed. “We are always building communities, and we are asking organizations to work together, get to know each other, and learn from each other.”

Community building also takes place in the area between the local police station and the chapel. The NYPD has dedicated Neighborhood Coordinators who work within specific neighborhoods where you can meet local schools, community leaders, places of worship and clergy.

Due to the spate of anti-Semitic incidents in recent years, Jewish groups have organized additional lines of defense to improve security at Jewish community centers and synagogues throughout the city. For more than 15 years, the Community Security Service has partnered with law enforcement, local governments, and other Jewish organizations to train volunteers to protect Jewish institutions in New York. Today, hundreds of CSS volunteers watch over the city’s synagogues and Jewish communal spaces.

Following the Club Q shooting in Colorado in November 2022, CSS worked with OPHC and LGBTQ Jewish organizations to conduct security and situational awareness training sessions.

CSS CEO and National Director Evan Bernstein also believes in community-building, a whole-of-community approach. He is a co-founder of the Interfaith Security Council, which regularly brings together his 20-plus faith-based organizations in New York City to discuss security best practices and community issues and share resources. sharing and promoting interfaith dialogue.

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Pastor Gil Monrose.Photo provided

“Sometimes it’s hard to come together on political and religious issues, but one thing we have in common is that many religious leaders and their congregations feel religiously vulnerable,” Bernstein said. said.

The Interfaith Security Council was also co-founded. To Rabbi Bob Kaplan, executive director of the Council on Jewish Community Relations at the Center for Community Leadership in New York, and Reverend Gil Monrose, executive director of New York City Hall for Faith-Based Community Partnerships. OFCP works with places of worship on solutions to gun violence, mental health issues, affordable housing, food insecurity and security threats. In addition to teaching security measures directly, the Council facilitates training on security grant applications for various communities.

“Our office exists so that all religious groups are represented in the city government and also share the resources the city provides to all religious communities to help them navigate the complexities of New York City. Our job is to be the bridge between the city and our faith leaders and faith communities,” said Monrose.

On the day Monrose spoke to RNS, he attended a call between places of worship and the NYPD as an opportunity for religious groups to voice concerns and law enforcement to check safety.

“We work better in groups in terms of acting than we do alone,” said Monrose.

New York City has thousands of faith communities, and security in places of worship depends on cooperation and mutual concern, according to Monrose.

“Every day there are people thinking about how we keep our communities safe. That’s our challenge,” Monrose said. “To make sure that we provide resources and truly see the dangers we collectively face, and that we can tackle them head-on for everyone.”

To Tori Luecking, Religious News Service


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