Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has condemned the "heinous hate crimes" made against a group of Muslims in New York on Sunday (01Jan12) and called upon his fans to practice religious understanding in the New Year.
Simmons posted an opinion piece on his website GlobalGrind.com on Monday (02Jan12) to alert his followers of the Sunday firebombing attack on the Al-Khoei Center in Queens and he has teamed up with Rabbi Marc Schneier and spiritual leader Imam Shamsi Ali to provide support for the Muslim community.
He also urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to increase police security in the area to protect innocent civilians from being targeted.
He writes, "The attack on the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica, Queens on the first day of 2012 highlights the continuing peril confronting Muslim New Yorkers amidst the ongoing wave of incitement and religious bigotry being directed against Islam and Muslims in cities across the U.S.
"Thankfully, none of those inside the building were injured, but the fact that the perpetrator or perpetrators savagely attacked a building filled with worshippers is a sign of how dangerous the current sinister wave of Islamophobia has become to the very life and limb of peaceful American Muslims.
"The three of us unequivocally condemn these heinous hate crimes and stand in full solidarity with the members of the Al-Khoei Center and the others who were targeted. Any attempt to damage or desecrate any house of worship is an attempt to harm all houses of worship.
"In order to protect that sacred right of freedom of worship, we urge the New York City Police Department to increase patrols in front of mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship around New York City where there is a perceived danger of hate crimes. We encourage Mayor Bloomberg and the Nypd to demonstrate that they are not only committed to fighting terrorism - as they must be - but will also do everything possible to protect the rights of law-abiding Muslims to practice their faith in peace and security."
This isn't the activist's first big push to support American Muslims - he previously bought adverting space to financially aid U.S. TV reality series All-American Muslims, which was almost cancelled last month (Dec11) due to a lack of backers.