2015-12-16 / Features

Queens Leaders Stand With Anti-Muslim Attack Victim

Among those pictured are State Senator Michael Gianaris (at mic), State Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and City Councilman Costa Constantinides Among those pictured are State Senator Michael Gianaris (at mic), State Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and City Councilman Costa Constantinides Following the recent assault on Astoria small business owner Sarker Haque of Fatima Food Mart on 21st Avenue in Astoria, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, state Senators Michael Gianaris, Jose Peralta, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Councilman Costa Constantinides, City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and community leaders came together to denounce hateful rhetoric and the violence it inspires. The attacker is said to have proclaimed, “I kill Muslims,” during the assault, and was taken into custody by the NYPD, which is now investigating the incident as a hate crime.

“I am appalled by the recent attack on Sarker Haque, a store owner in the area I represent,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “I am even more appalled that the attacker allegedly targeted Mr. Haque for being a Muslim. Our nation is built on the bedrock principle of tolerance and acceptance for all religions. Attacking someone for their religion is deeply un-American and unacceptable. I hope law enforcement takes this matter very seriously and prosecutes the perpetrator to the full extent allowed by law. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Haque and his family, and I hope they understand how emphatically our community stands with them and rejects the sentiments that led to this unconscionable attack.”

“In our neighborhood and our nation, we pride ourselves on our diversity and tolerance,” said Senator Gianaris (D-Astoria). “Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful and violent acts that must be denounced and dealt with aggressively. I am proud to represent this community and will continue to stand against these unacceptable hate crimes.”

“It is unfortunate that in our times, we have to stand here in solidarity with the Muslim community because one of its members was viciously attacked. New Yorkers have a long tradition of welcoming immigrants from across the globe, and our Muslim brothers and sisters are no exception,” said Senator Peralta (D-East Elmhurst). “As New Yorkers, we are not going to tolerate hate crimes.”

“I was horrified to learn of the vicious and cowardly attack on Sarker Haque this weekend,” said Assemblywoman Simotas (DAstoria). “Astoria was built by generations of people who came here to build a better life for their families in peace and safety, we will not tolerate acts of violence and hatred.”

“This targeted assault is unconscionable,” said Councilman Constantinides (D-Astoria). This crime is the antithesis of what Astoria is all about. The strength of our community lies in our diversity. This small business owner is part of the fabric of our neighborhood and we all condemn this hate crime.”

“There is no place for hatred and racism in our city, and we stand today – and every day – united against Islamophobia, and all forms of bigotry,” said Comptroller Stringer.

“Any type of bigotry or discriminatory behavior toward any New Yorker, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, will never be tolerated in New York City,” said Public Advocate James. “We are a city known for our diversity and acceptance and that will never be compromised. We are here today to stand up and show that peace and love always triumph over hate.”

“The assault against Sarker Haque was an assault against all Americans who want to live in a society where diversity is respected and religious and ethnic hatred are things of the past,” said Borough President Katz. “It is therefore critically important to all of us that the perpetrator is held accountable for this violent crime.”

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