Local officials, interfaith leaders speak out against attacks on religious communities

NEW YORK — Local officials and religious leaders came together across city Sunday afternoon to speak out against recent attacks on religious communities.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) was joined by Rev. Al Sharpton and dozen of religious leaders from the city in the Upper East Side to condemn the recent spike in hate crimes in New York, the nation and around the world.

The rally comes after anti-Semitic graffiti was found at Asphalt Green’s Upper East Side location, the terror attacks that killed 11 Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh and 50 Muslim worshipers at two mosques in New Zealand.

On Mar. 6, police were called to the Asphalt Green sports facility on East 90th Street after fixtures and walls of the AquaCenter family locker rooms were covered with swastikas, the facility’s executive director Maggy Siegel, wrote in a letter.

Police are actively investigating and security on the campus was increased following the incident.

In Queens, interfaith community leaders and New Yorkers also came together at the Jamaica Muslim Center to declare their solidarity with the victims and families of the New Zealand attacks and to express their commitment to work together to fight anti-Muslim bigotry.

Hate groups have surged by 30 percent across the country in recent years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

By early February, police were investigating over 40 hate crimes, compared to 19 reports at the same point last year.

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