Muslims, Jews worried as hate crimes brew in NYC amid crisis in the Middle East
With war raging in the Middle East, local Jews and Muslims are worried about the hate brewing at home in the New York City Tri-State area.
Christopher D’Aguiar, 28, from East Harlem is now charged with a hate crime. Police believe he punched a woman in the face at a subway station Saturday night then allegedly explained because she was Jewish.
“When something like that happens on the subway, it is very concerning,” Steven Weill said.
Weill is the coordinator for the Flatbush Shomrim, a volunteer neighborhood watch group. He says his community is on edge
“We’re not looking to instigate but we’re looking to fight back,” Weill said. “We’re not going to just sit here and accept the hate. We’re going to do something about it.”
According to the NYPD, hate crimes have jumped 7% since the start of the Israeli Gaza War. Just last week, there were 51 hate crimes reported in the city. Thirty of them were against Jews.
“We are seeing a lot of people getting slapped, getting pushed,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny. “The majority of the 30 crimes that we saw that were anti-Jewish, they stemmed from graffiti, criminal mischief, aggravated harassment. Basically almost bordering on free speech.”
With large demonstrations filling city streets recently and fiery rhetoric from both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protestors, thankfully, angry words have not spilled into violence. But Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang was told there is an undercurrent of fear.
“There is definitely heightened concern in the neighborhood and all over the city,” Weill said.
On the Palestinian side, police report there have been four anti-Palestinian incidents since Oct 9.
New Yorkers are now being asked to be more vigilant and quicker to report anything suspicious.
Before the war broke out, reporters were told hate crimes had been going down.