Faith leaders call for an end to religious harassment
by Chase Collum
Aug 20, 2014 | 4208 views | 0 0 comments | 138 138 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Borough President Eric Adams led a march to the home of one victim.
Borough President Eric Adams led a march to the home of one victim.
In the wake of two violent attacks on identifiably Jewish individuals in Crown Heights last week, elected officials and community leaders gathered at the site of one of those attacks to take a stand against religious hatred on Monday.

Borough President Eric Adams organized the event, which was led by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and said he wanted to make it clear that such acts of hate would not be tolerated in the borough of Brooklyn.

“We in the borough of Brooklyn will not tolerate any form of hate,” Adams said, adding that everyone, no matter their race, creed or color should “be able to be with their families and walk the streets free of harassment.”

The NYPD confronted a suspect in the attack on 24-year-old Avroham Wosolow just a few feet from where the conference was held on Albany Avenue near President Street, but he was later released.

A second attack on a young boy who was riding his bike alone down the sidewalk occurred on Troy Avenue near President Street.

After the conference, Public Advocate Letitia James said she believes that the police should be doing more to pursue Wosolow’s attackers.

“The NYPD needs to check the facts, do their due diligence and check the video,” James said.

According to the NYPD, the Hate Crimes Unit is currently investigating the attack.

Many at the rally, including Rabbi Chanina Sperlin, spoke of the “dark days” of Crown Heights, when 23 years ago African-Americans marched the streets shouting “Get the Jew, Kill the Jew.”

“We are not going back there,” Sperlin said.

Rabbi Eli Cohen, executive director of the Jewish Leadership Council of Crown Heights, also spoke of the riots 23 years ago, and said that while the Jewish community has tried and failed to make inroads into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, Reverand Al Sharpton, who referred to the Jewish community insensitively as “diamond dealers,” has had no trouble gaining the mayor’s ear.

Cohen did not identify Sharpton by name, but instead told this reporter to “Google Crown Heights Diamond Dealers.”

“If he’s being heard in the halls of power, then shame on all of us,” Cohen said while standing next to James, who was in the front row of Eric Garner’s funeral, where Sharpton spoke recently.

After the rally, Adams led a march down Albany Avenue to Empire Boulevard and the home of slain Rabbi Joseph Raksin, where the elected officials presented Raksin’s family with flowers and a commitment to fight against religious harassment in the borough.

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