City officials and religious leaders met in Jamaica, Queens to discuss the four high-profile firebombings in Queens and Nassau County.
At a press conference at the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center at 89 Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica Queens, the location of one of the firebombings, a host of officials, religious leaders and representatives from the law enforcement community spoke out against the attacks. Along with the Al-Khoei Islamic Center, a Hindu temple, two residences in Queens and a grocery store were also attacked with Molotov cocktails. A number of city officials were present including Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Rep. Gregory Meeks, State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
We have a person of interest, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at the press conference. He may be the person in the video.
Commissioner Kelly said detectives were able to track down the suspect from a license plate number obtained from security footage and possible witnesses. Kelly said that the suspect is a local resident from Jamaica, Queens and was taken into custody around 8 a.m.
These events are being investigated as a hate crime, said Kelly. Kelly also says that he will make sure the police department uses its full resources while investigating this alleged hate crime.
Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, also expressed similar sentiments. He said the perpetrator or perpetrators will be vigorously prosecuted by his office.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said how bitterly angry and upset she was by this event.
This cannot continue, she says. He must be punished to the fullest extent.
Religious leaders from all faiths were present, as well, in order to provide support for the community.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik stated how proud he was to see so many different people from so many different faiths support the Islamic community.
All of us of different faiths stand together as one family, he says.
Imam Maan Al-Sahlani, who preaches at the Islamic center, wanted to thank the city leaders, the community and other religious leaders for their continued support. He also said that that is important to root out hatred and strive to protect communities across the city.
We have to protect our country, our society, he said.
Marsal Jaffrey has been attending prayer services and Islamic events at the Al-Khoei Islamic Center since he was a small boy. It was upsetting for someone to attack his prayer center, but he was very grateful for all of the support his community received from city and religious leaders.
We really appreciate all of that, he said. He also said he wanted to thank the NYPD, FDNY and FBI for their continued to support and investigations into this matter.