Islamic centre, Hindu worship place attacked in US

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 09:19

New York: Authorities are investigating as
bias crimes attacks at four locations in New York, including
an Islamic centre and a Hindu place of worship, in which
molotov cocktails were hurled at the sites damaging property.

The attacks took place in Queens near here last night in
which unidentified assailants threw homemade firebombs at a
house used for Hindu worship services, Islamic centre Imam
Al-Khoei Foundation, a home and a convenience store.

No injuries have been reported so far, police said.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called such attacks
unacceptable and said authorities are investigating the
incidents.

"No matter what the motivation was of the individual who
threw Molotov cocktails in Queens last night, his actions
stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that
we’ve built together," he said in a statement.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said such attacks have no place in
"our open and inclusive society and we must do all we can to
ensure New York remains a safe and tolerant place for all."

Bloomberg said personnel from the New York Police
Department’s Hate Crimes Unit and detective squad are "moving
at full steam" to investigate and also determine if there are
any connections to incidents outside New York City.

A Fire Department official said the attacks damaged
property but no one was injured.
Police said in three of the four attacks, Molotov
cocktails were made using Starbucks bottles.

The first attack took place last night in a convenience
store, also known as a Bodega. Then 10 minutes later, a crude
firebomb was thrown at a home, which caught fire, the Islamic
centre and the Hindu place of worship.

The Imam Al-Khoei Foundation has one of the most
prominent Shia mosques in New York.

According to information on its Website, the centre
provides education, funeral services, counselling and helps
organise Haj pilgrimages. It has branches in several cities,
including in Montreal and Islamabad.

Police said the Hindu place of worship was a private home
that was used by a Hindu priest for ceremonies, adding that
from the outside the house did not look like a temple.

An Imam at the Islamic centre said about 80 people were
gathered there when the firebomb was thrown inside, shattering
the glass.

He said the foundation promotes work in development,
human rights and minority rights as a general consultant to
the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

The center also has a school that will resume Tuesday
after holiday break.

Police, who are investigating the attacks as hate crime,
said callers informed them that they saw the assailants
fleeing the scenes after hurling the firebombs.

They were looking at surveillance video obtained from the
bodega and the attack on one of the houses.

The Islamic centre said on its website that two firebombs
were "hurled at the main entrance" but "no major damage no
injury was caused by the blast."

It said the foundation "reiterates its resolve to
continue to serve the community and to strive to bring love
where there is hatred, light where there is darkness and
enlightenment where there is ignorance."

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 2, 2012 - 22:50

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