Muslims were apparently the targets of a string of firebombs that hit an Islamic cultural center and a Hindu house of worship Queens last night.
This morning, elected leaders in the city and state have been quick to condemn the violence and have pledged a full investigation.
“The four reported attacks on Sunday night go against everything we stand for as New Yorkers and Americans,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Attacks such as this have no place in our open and inclusive society and we must do all we can to ensure New York remains a safe and tolerant place for all. I am thankful that there were no reported injuries. To make sure those who perpetrated these attacks are brought to justice and we prevent future bias crimes, I have asked Superintendent of State Police Joe D’Amico and Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Liz Glazer to provide any assistance that is needed on the investigation.”
The NYPD are assuming that the firebombs–three of which were made from Starbucks glass bottles– are linked and are treating the attacks as a hate crime.
Mayor Bloomberg has not made an appearance in Queens yet–he has had no public schedule since dropping the New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square on Saturday, but he did say in a statement that the actions were not the New York of today.
“No matter what motivation was of the individual who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens last night, his actions stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that we’ve built together. Personnel from the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit and the 103rd Precinct’s Detective Squad are moving at full steam to investigate and also determine if there are any connections to incidents outside New York City,” he said.
The all-but declared candidates for the 2013 mayoral election also quickly released statements decrying the attacks.
“The attacks on a religious institution and private property in Queens represent a brand of intolerance and bigotry that cannot be allowed to stand in our city,” said public advocate Bill de Blasio. “These appalling acts of vandalism are an affront to all New Yorkers. I applaud the NYPD and State authorities for their rapid response, and urge the full prosecution of these attacks as the hate crimes they truly are.”
“I join with all New Yorkers in condemning the four reported firebomb attacks in Queens on a bodega, an Islamic Center, a house where Hindu religious services are conducted and a private home,” added Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer. “These reprehensible acts, all using molotov cocktails, have no place in New York or in any other civilized community, and I urge the police to spare no resources in bringing those responsible to justice. Hate crimes are an attack on all of us, and I call on anyone who might have knowledge about these appalling crimes to alert the police immediately.”
And added comptroller John Liu, ”These bombings, seemingly targeted at a vibrant and growing community, are depraved acts of cowardice for which the perpetrators must be found and punished. We are grateful that the police are quickly investigating this, on a weekend that was supposed to be a happy start to a new year.”