The New York Sun (June 12) positively relishes in such reports, even as the federal judiciary contributes to the Muslim immigrant fears that fuel such a backlash. On May 27, days before these vandal attacks, the New York Times reported (online at World Wide Religious News) how revelations of police spies infiltrating Brooklyn’s Muslim communities are leading to increased tensions.
Police have charged a 12-year-old boy with a Memorial Day graffiti attack in which the acronym for the Palestinian Liberation Organization was written on the homes of some Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, residents who were displaying American flags.
A police spokesman, Detective John Sweeney, described the boy only as “male, 12-years-old, Arabic.” He was charged with criminal mischief and making graffiti, misdemeanors that will be handled in family court.
On Memorial Day, patriotic residents of Senator Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Bay Ridge awoke to see the letters PLO painted on a garage, four trees, and a van. Only the houses on the block that displayed the American flag were attacked.
Tensions were already high among some residents of the area. On May 14, about 200 Brooklyn Palestinians marched through Bay Ridge in an anti-Israel protest. Many held up signs denouncing America’s support of Israel and chanted “Shame, shame, U.S.A.”
News of the arrest has done little to comfort many Bay Ridge residents, who perceive the political message allegedly sent by the 12-year-old as only a small piece of a growing cultural conflict resonating in the small corner of south Brooklyn.
Two local Internet discussion forums have become hotbeds of anger and frustration. One popular thread on Bayridge.com, “Anti-Americanism in Bay Ridge,” has received almost 2,000 hits in the last 30 days. Another, “That Cartoon that is getting the Muslims upset,” has received nearly 3,000 hits. On Bayridgetalk.com, one thread is titled: “Bay Ridge is a hot bed of terrorism.”
The tensions apparent in cyberspace also played out on the streets.
Out of fear of further retribution, members of one family living on Senator Street in Bay Ridge said they have stopped displaying the American flag. Other residents decided to leave Old Glory up, but not without hesitation.
In the past, we have had occassion to note more hopeful news from Brooklyn.
See our last post on fear in New York City.