Someone seems to be trying to drive a wedge between Kensington’s Muslims and their neighbors by amending signs posted along Church Avenue that read “We love our Muslim neighbors” with ones that say “We love our infidel neighbors” and describes such residents as “filthy creatures that pollute their bodies with alcohol and pork.”
Local leaders think the new placards were probably some bigot’s attempt to make the area’s large Bangladeshi community look bad, but say if they were put there by a Muslim, they will find out and turn them in to police.
“This is not what we want. I can’t tell you 100 percent it’s someone who isn’t Muslim, but it’s possibly someone from the outside who’s trying to make us look bad,” said Community Board 12 member and long-time Kensington resident Mamnunul Haq. “If the person is Muslim, any legal action that’s possible the person will face.”
The new signs were gone by Wednesday afternoon, but Haq plans to report then to the 66th Precinct and hopes officers there will be able to track down surveillance footage that show the signs as they’re being posted he said.
Other residents are positive it will reveal the culprit is no follower of Muhammad.
“I read it and laughed,” said Kensingtonian John Caminiti, who spotted one of the signs Tuesday night, and says he heard about several others. “Obviously someone put it up who’s not a Muslim.”
The “We love our Muslim neighbors” signs — written in English, Arabic, and Bengali — appeared along the thoroughfare following Donald Trump’s election victory, which has many residents worried they’ll be deported or persecuted because of their faith under the new administration.
Caminiti says he has seen lots of support from non-Muslim residents towards their Islam-practising neighbors in the period since the election — especially online.
“Social-media wise, I’ve only seen really positive stuff,” he said.
But this is also not the only recent instance of hatred in the neighborhood — a vandal scrawled “F— Allah” in permanent marker in the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station earlier this month.