A hate-filled vandal scrawled anti-Muslim graffiti on a Beverly Road business in Kensington over the weekend, stoking fears that the usually diverse neighborhood would explode in race-fueled retaliation.
“We don’t want religious conflict around here,” said Mamun Ur Rashid, the owner of TDS Insurance, where someone wrote “Allah is s---,” in black marker. “This is something that’s bringing up very upsetting emotions.”
Police from the 66th Precinct say the vandalism is being investigated as a potential bias crime — a rarity in Kensington, residents say — but would not say if they had any leads.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Bazlur Hazari, owner of the Desh Bangla Grocery next door to where the graffiti was found.
Yet some thought the anti-Muslim attack was in retaliation to a spate of anti-Semitic crimes in Midwood, where swastikas were found painted on residential homes.
“This could be tit for tat,” said Abu Chowdury, a manager at TDS Insurance. “But we just want to stop it in the community.”
More than 40 people gathered in the swirling snow on Wednesday for a candlelight vigil decrying the incident — a multi-faith show of solidarity organized by councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope).
“An attack against any of our neighbors is an attack against all of us,” said Alan Dubrow, a Kensington resident and chairman of Community Board 12. “Diversity is what makes this community and our country a great place to live in. We will not tolerate this type of behavior to permeate throughout our community.”
Anti-muslim attacks made up about 11 percent of the religious bias crimes that occurred state wide in 2010, according to federal statistics.
©2012 Community News Group
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