NYC: Bay Ridge Intifada?

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, “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, 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.

  1. Paranoia machine grinds on
    From the Chicago Tribune, June 20:

    Cyanide in the subway

    For the president, the vice president and the CIA analysts gathered in the Oval Office, it was disturbingly easy to envision an attack as deadly as that of Sept. 11, 2001. This time, poison gas could waft through New York subway cars at rush hour, killing train passengers and panicky throngs in stations. The weapon of choice, as divined from the computer hard drive of a Bahraini jihadist named Bassam Bokhowa: hydrogen cyanide, a colorless, almond-scented gas like the Zyklon B that German Nazis used in the death chambers of their concentration camps.

    That urgent White House scene is one of several from early in 2003 recounted in “The One Percent Doctrine,” a new book by author Ron Suskind that is excerpted in this week’s Time magazine. Suskind’s chilling reportage–which the Bush administration and U.S. spy agencies haven’t challenged–asserts that an Al Qaeda cell inside this country had thoroughly cased New York’s subway system and perfected a remotely activated device called “the mubtakkar” (“the invention”) to disperse the hydrogen cyanide. But, the book says, a turncoat source inside Al Qaeda told CIA agents pursuing the plot in March 2003 that Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had canceled the attack 45 days before zero hour. To this day, no one knows why.