Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Place for Jews in a "Christian Nation"

Of all the places you'd expect to see Jews be safe from anti-Semitic violence, I'd put New York City at the top of the list. Yet, the New York Post is reporting a possible hate crime on the Q train:
A Hanukkah greeting among passengers on a Q train set off an altercation that resulted in ten people being charged with hate crimes yesterday, police said.

The incident in which four people were assaulted took place on a Q train at the DeKalb Avenue station in Brooklyn on Friday at 11:15 p.m.

It began after the four victims exchanged Hanukkah greetings and one of the assailants made anti-Semetic remarks about Jews killing Jesus, saying, "This is a Christian country," sources said.

The group of 19 and 20-year-olds then allegedly attacked the four passengers, who suffered minor bruises and swelling. They were charged with assault and unlawful assembly.

The father of someone in the attacking group claims that the victims shouted obscenities about Jesus. But according to the Gothamist, at least two of the attackers have had brushes with the law before, both after assaulting Black men elsewhere in New York.

Via Phoebe, who herself was near the scene of the crime.

UPDATE: The New York Daily News reports that the man who intervened to stop the attack was a young Bangladeshi Muslim student. That's really nice to hear. Kudos to him. As one of the victims put it, "That a random Muslim kid helped some Jewish kids, that's what's positive about New York."

Also, the story gives more background on how the fight started. The attackers apparently yelled "Merry Christmas" at the group of Jews, who responded with a resounding "Happy Chanukah". Then they jumped them. Elsewhere, I've heard it reported that the attackers thought that Chanukah commemorated "the day the Jews killed Christ", so that could be the "obscenity" the father cited above (but, I hasten to add, that's just speculation on my part).

CNN also picked up the story.

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