Racist graffiti mars church

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Anti-Chinese graffiti has been splashed on the side of a closed Ovington Avenue church who’s new Asian-American owner has a controversial plan to tear down the place and replace it with an apartment building.

The former Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, between Third and Fourth avenues, was tagged with the words “very sad,” “$ad,” “Bad idea,” “Why” and “Back to China,” about two weeks ago, shortly after plans for demolition of the 70-year-old building were announced by its new owner, Xi Wu.

Wu would not comment on the graffiti, but said he is continuing with his plans to develop housing on the site.

Tensions over the destruction of Bay Ridge’s churches have been riding high since the demolition of the nearly century-old Bay Ridge United Methodist Church — commonly known as the “Green Church” — on Fourth Avenue at Ovington Avenue.

“We’re watching the whole history go out of the block,” said preservationist Victoria Hofmo. “It has already lost one church, do we really need destroy another?”

The former pastor of the church said he can sympathize with community disappointment over the destruction, but finds it unacceptable to target the new owner for the demolition.

“The church closed down simply because there was not enough financial support,” said pastor Khader El-Yateem. “It is the new owners right to be here and it’s unfortunate that people are resorting to this.”

The Salam Arabic Lutheran Church opened as the Salem Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1942 and was renamed after the Arabic congregation took over in 1995. The New York Lutheran Synod sold the church for $1.5 million last year.

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Reader Feedback

mark from slope says:
the graffiti itself i find offensive, but i have to say i love seeing these gross buildings get knocked down. also who doesnt love asians?
April 12, 2011, 9:26 am
Tony from Dyker Heights says:
They could have this church. I've done seen it already. It don't make me no never mind.
April 12, 2011, 3:40 pm
Jay from Ridge says:
Indeed very sad, China is buying up US gov't debt, so that Americans can run large deficits and have low interest rates..
April 13, 2011, 7:45 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Isn't graffiti art?

Isn't this?
April 14, 2011, 8:58 am
Jay from Ridge says:
Maybe if more people go to churches on Sundays.. churches in Bay Ridge wouldn't shut down..
April 14, 2011, 5:22 pm
Pat K from Bay Ridge says:
hey Mark, you are a BIG LOOSER ROM THE PEOPLE'REPUBLIC of PARK SLOPE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!This building had history of people who raised families and perhaps sent their children to war to protect this country. From what I gather they might have been Arab Christian Folks as well The same thing people did in Park Slope where I grew up, so if you consider for second what his Building- Chruch meant to many. We can only hope a ne partment building may not be like the tacky ones' built here over the years.
April 17, 2011, 9:13 pm

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