Lifestyle & Belief

Four firebomb attacks in Queens, NY


New York Muslims leave the Jamaica Muslim Center in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens after Friday prayers on Aug. 27, 2010.


Chris Hondros

An Islamic center, two houses – one of which serves as a Hindu temple – and a bodega in Queens, NY, were firebombed between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Jan. 1, the New York Times reported. The private home was severely damaged by fire.

According to the Times:

No one was hurt in the four attacks, in which homemade firebombs were apparently used. In three of the four attacks, the police said, Molotov cocktails were made with Starbucks bottles.

The New York police are investigating whether the attacks are linked and whether they were hate crimes, the Times reported.

Some 85 to 100 people were attending an event at the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center when two Molotov cocktails landed on its doorstep, NY 1 reported, but most were downstairs and did not see the fire.

"Thank God, nobody was injured and we're OK," Maan Al-Sahlani, minister of religion at the center, told CNN. "It's not major damage – maybe because of the rain, maybe because our people tried to put down the fire."

Al-Sahlani told CNN he did not suspect anyone in particular and noted that Muslims weren't the only ones attacked on Sunday night.

"We don't accuse any party or any religion or any people," Al-Sahlani told CNN. "We just talk to the police department (and) they are working very hard to find out what's going on ... and hopefully they will get (the perpetrator or perpetrators) soon.”

Today, police released two surveillance videos showing the attack on the house that serves as a Hindu temple, CNN reported.

According to CNN:

One shows a car slowing down, while another shows a person hurling a single, flaming object over a fence and toward the building. A fire can then be seen in the residence's front yard.

“Attacks such as this have no place in our open and inclusive society,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement, according to the Times, “and we must do all we can to ensure New York remains a safe and tolerant place for all.”

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