Demonstrators rally in support of Staten Island Muslims in 2010. On Sunday, scattered pieces of bacon were found during a Ramadan celebration on Staten Island (Photo: Thomas Good /NLN)
The tide of anti-Muslim hatred scaring communities across the country has washed over New York. Staten Island, to be exact.
On Sunday, scattered pieces of bacon were found in a Staten Island field as New York City Muslims gathered to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Islam, pork is forbidden. The use of pork to desecrate an Islamic site is a favored tool of Islamophobes.
The New York Police Department is reportedly investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Despite the targeting of the celebration, it went on as planned.
But it was the latest attack on Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Some Muslim leaders blame elected officials in New York and around the country for creating a climate of hatred towards Muslims in the U.S.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has posted a screenshot of anti-Muslim comments made on a Staten Island news site before the Muslim celebration that read: “I am going to walk my pet pig and i am gonna let him take a nice fat dump in the field ….just in time for morning prayers…They should send in a assault team and rid Staten island of all the muslim terrorists.”
Staten Island is no stranger to controversies over Islam; in 2010, as the ginned-up furor over the Park 51 Islamic center reached its height, a plan to sell a vacant Catholic convent to a Muslim group was scrapped after vocal anti-Muslim protests. (Pamela Geller, of course, was involved.)
But even more alarming than Staten Island’s anti-Muslim problem is the country’s Islamophobia problem. During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a spate of attacks on Islamic religious sites has occurred. “At least seven mosques and one cemetery were attacked in America during Ramadan,” CNN reports. “This is unprecedented in its scale and scope,” a spokesperson for CAIR told the news network.
In a press release, the director of CAIR’s New York chapter, Muneer Awad, said: “These incidents are not a coincidence. We believe the recent surge in acts of bigotry and hatred is directly linked to the words of elected officials and those running for office who have used anti-Muslim bigotry as a campaign strategy.”
Specifically, CAIR singled out “New York State Senator David Storobin and Assembly candidate Ben Askelrod” for fomenting anti-Muslim hatred. Storobin, who created some buzz after being photographed wearing an Israeli army uniform, has raised baseless allegations against a planned mosque in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (as Mondoweiss reported).
Askelrod, another Brooklyn politician running for election, similarly stoked the fires of anti-Muslim hatred when he told a Russian-language daily newspaper that he does “not believe that most representatives and officials from the state and the city approve of the construction of a mosque at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack and in this neighborhood in Sheephead Bay where Muslims certainly don’t live.” In fact, there are about 200 Muslim families in the area, according to residents.
In response to the widespread attacks on Muslims during Ramadan, CAIR asked “mosques and Islamic institutions nationwide to step up security for the upcoming end-of Ramadan holiday prayers.”