Firebombs attack in a Queens Mosque
Special to Amsterdam News | , Yacine Simporé | 1/19/2012, 10:34 a.m.
On Sunday, Queens began the new-year with four senseless firebombs attacks.
Fortunately no one was hurt, but the damages could have been worse. The police have now started the investigation and already think it the attacks were possibly targeting Muslims.
Souleimane Konate, Imam in his Masjid AQSA Mosque in Harlem said he was particularly shocked by this act of hatred toward Islam.
" I do not understand such a violence toward people who gather in a place to adore Allah. These people love America and pray for it, because this is where they belong. This happened in Queens, but can happen to us tomorrow, we never know. I call for the authorities to condemn this crime."
Police reports say it was 8 p.m when the first attack occurred in a deli at 19-46 Hillside avenue. According to police criminals used Molotov Cocktails in glass Starbucks bottles, used to package coffee, to do cary out the attacks.
The three other attacks came in the following few hours. Ten minutes after the first firebomb, a second one was thrown at 107Th in a house that immediately caught fire.
An islamic center at 89-89 Van Wick Expressway was the next targeted. Eventually the last attack occurred in a house at 88-30 170th street.
The police arrested Ray Lazier Lengend, a 40-year-old Guynese man, after identifying him from a portrait drawn from surveillance tapes. Legend was charged with a hate crime after confessing to throwing five molotov cocktails at various businesses and religious institutions.
"I am pleased to see that swift action was taken to find and arrest the alleged perpetrator. Hate crimes have noplace in our society and will not be tolerated," Said Council Member Leroy Comrie.
In a press release Mayor Bloomberg said, "fortunately, the number of incidents like this are very low, but one is one too many." He also stated:
"I just wanted to say to the Imam, he has our total support, as would the head of any religious institution no matter what religion it is in this city. I think we all know that we are in this together - discrimination against anybody is discrimination against everyone "
Queens Borough President Ellen Marshall has also show her ambition to fight against religious intolerance. In a press release she said:
"Queens is America's most diverse county. We have a rich history and pride ourselves on being home to the Flushing Remonstrance, a precursor of the Bill of Rights found in our country's Constitution. We are the birthplace of religious freedom and cannot tolerate attacks like those which took place on Sunday night."