CAIR-NY Condemns Hate Attack on Jewish Mother and Daughter Mistaken for Muslims

(NEW YORK, NY, 9/14/17) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the allegedly bias-motivated attack on a Jewish woman and her adult daughter by an assailant who mistakenly believed they were Muslims.
According to police, Dimitrious Zias said "get out of my country, you dirty Muslim!'' as he repeatedly punched the 57-year-old Jewish woman and her 37-year-old daughter. The suspect was arrested at the scene and charged with assault as a hate crime. The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon at the Rego Park R Stop on 67th Avenue.
SEE: Drunken Bigot Attacks Jewish Mom, Daughter He Mistook for Muslims at Queens Subway Station: 'Get Out of My Country'
“This tragic attack shows why Muslim and Jewish New Yorkers must unite against religious bigotry,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “Any time a New Yorker is targeted because of their faith, it’s an attack on our city as a whole and the values that we treasure. We stand with and support the victims of this heinous attack, and we are grateful that an arrest was made so quickly.”
CAIR-NY and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.  Last month, CAIR-NY condemned racist vandalism at a Long Island school.
SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Racist Vandalism Found at Long Island School
Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at:
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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We must show solidarity with Muslim-Americans in face of Trump administration fear-mongering

I am a Jew. But starting today, in the eyes of the Trump Administration, I want to be seen as a Muslim.

There are too many people inside the Trump transition team talking about registering Muslims or even interning them in camps — so starting today, I am wearing a yellow Islamic crescent and star on my jacket, and urging all Americans to do the same, until this racist nonsense is banished from our public discourse.

There have been too many attacks on Muslims already, too many immigrant children coming home from school crying because a bully told them they'll be deported after Jan. 20, too many Trump supporters not seeing that there’s a vast chasm between Islam and terrorism committed in the name of a perverted version of Islam.

As a Jew, I am particularly sensitive to efforts by government to divide us along ethnic or racial lines. The Germans did that in the 1930s with disastrous results. We did it to Japanese-Americans during World War II, which remains a stain on our national conscience. And the Trump campaign certainly did it during the election season with heightened rhetoric.

Indeed, Trump's military adviser Gen. Michael Flynn tweeted earlier this year that "fear of Muslims is RATIONAL." (Flynn has been appointed to the cabinet, but it's unclear if that rhetoric got him the job.)

Of course, when the Nazis infamously made Jews wear yellow stars in German-occupied territories, thousands of righteous Gentiles stood up to Hitler by protecting Jews. There's a legend that King Christian of Denmark wore a yellow star in solidarity with Jews. OK, that story isn't true, but it doesn't mean we can't be inspired by it.

In that spirit, it is time for all of us to stand up to those who would oppress Muslim-Americans. That's why on Friday morning, I went to a craft store near my Brooklyn home, bought some yellow felt, and crafted an Islamic crescent and star, modeled after the "Jude" stars of the Nazi era. It's not perfect, but it makes the Gandhian point, "I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew — and so are all of you."

It's unclear whether President Trump will follow through on campaign trail chatter about requiring Muslims to register with the government. But this week, one of his advisers told Reuters about an internal debate within the Trump transition team about a proposal for a national registry of immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries. A day later, a key Trump surrogate spoke glowingly of internment camps.

“We did it during World War II with the Japanese,” said Carl Higbie, who, until this week, was the spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC.

He didn't back down from the legality of the idea when challenged by host Megyn Kelly.

“I’m not proposing that at all,” Higbie said. “But I’m just saying there is precedent for it.”

There's also precedent for killing millions of Native Americans and dumping PCBs into the Hudson River, but that doesn't mean anyone should be talking so calmly about bringing either back.

I am not prejudging President-elect Trump. He may disavow the overheated language that is designed to divide us and make us look upon our Muslim neighbors in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn or Dearborn, Mich. with suspicion.

But starting today, if Americans do indeed look askance at their Muslim countrymen and women, they can start looking askance at me, too.

Sure, I know what the great Arlo Guthrie once sang in “Alice’s Restaurant” that "If one person does (something) ... they may think he's really sick." But in the same epic song, he went on to say, that if 50 people do something, "they may think it's a movement."

And that's what this is. You could merely sign the #RegisterMeFirst petition on Or you can do like I did: get to a craft store (not Hobby Lobby, though!) and make yourself a yellow crescent. Maybe we can end this Trumpian madness before someone in the U.S. government starts issuing real ones.