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NY Assemblyman Looks To Ground Swastika Sky Banners

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- After a banner featuring a swastika soared above city and Long Island beaches over the weekend, a state assemblyman is looking for the government to prevent it from happening again.

The sky banner wasn't meant to be anti-Semitic. It was paid for by the International Raelian Movement, a religion based in Switzerland whose followers believe life on earth was created by a species of aliens, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported. They are trying to rehabilitate the swastika, which the group said had a meaning of peace and love before it was adopted by the Nazis.

Regardless, Assemblyman Phil Goldfelder, D-Queens, told Silverman he is asking the city's Department of Consumer Affairs to look at regulating swastikas in the sky and other offensive ads, which he thinks can be done without opening a constitutional can of worms. He's also considering introducing legislation.

NY Assemblyman Looks To Ground Swastika Sky Banners

"There's been a lot of precedent about regulation on signage in public places, and I think that we need to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect our families," Goldfelder said.

The Raelians, however, say the sign should be protected under the First Amendment.

Goldfelder said his office received dozens of calls about the swastika banner.

"I think there are better ways to get their message out there," the assemblyman said.

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