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Mayor Eric Adams joins religious leaders as they call for unity, peace this holiday season

Mayor Adams, religious leaders call for peace amid increase in hate crimes
Mayor Adams, religious leaders call for peace amid increase in hate crimes 02:21

NEW YORK -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams and religious leaders came together in calls for unity, peace and safety Friday at City Hall. 

The mayor said in the two months since the Hamas terror attack in Israel, there has been a 250% rise in ethnically-motivated hate crimes in the city. He said that includes a 150% rise in antisemitic hate crimes, and a dramatic rise in those targeting Muslims and others.

"This holiday season, let us come together in unity, whether we are Sikh, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist -- part of any religion or practice," Adams said. 

Religious leaders from different faiths stood together, saying it's important to speak up and speak out.

"We must speak up, because it is sufficient for evil to thrive when the good people do or say nothing," said Imam Shamsi Ali, with the Jamaica Muslim Center. "Islamophobia and antisemitism, or any anti- to anyone or any group is our shared enemies."

Full video: Watch the unity rally

Mayor Adams, faith leaders call for unity this holiday season 15:16

The NYPD says police are looking for a man who set fire to two window tarps that contained the Jewish star image outside Shalom Japan restaurant on Nov. 18 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Police also say someone approached a 40-year-old man in traditional Jewish attire Thursday in Crown Heights, then punched him in the head and took his phone while making an anti-Jewish statement. 

"Last week, Friday, there were 15 bomb threats that were issued in this city to synagogues. And on Saturday morning when I walked to synagogue, there was a uniformed policeman outside, and it made such a difference to me," said another faith leader.

Police are looking for the person who knocked over a menorah on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, breaking several bulbs.

"Given what's happening in our world, I find it extremely frightening," said Sunset Park resident Elizabeth Postrygacz. "These are dangerous, dangerous acts ... They're loaded with meaning."

Mayor Eric Adams calls for unity amid rise in hate crimes across NYC 02:09

Not far from there, at 44th Street and Sixth Avenue, another menorah is now in place for the second night of Hanukkah after someone took the original.

"We actually found the menorah about 400 yards away ... completely broken and destroyed," said Rabbi Yanky Hecht, of Chabad Sunset Park. "I hope and pray that through this menorah lighting and through standing strong, we will inspire others for unity, for light and for peace."

Friday's rally follows the start of Hanukkah, with the lighting of the world's largest menorah in Manhattan.

Adams said police have stepped up security around the city, particularly near public menorahs.

"We have implemented pre-planned measures for elevated security around public menorah displays and at all lighting ceremonies and events," he said. 

The mayor also pointed out there's a lot of good going on around the city right now.

"We do need to lean into the displays of love, of individuals giving out socks and coats and clothing, feeding individuals," he said. 

Adams says no matter who you are or what you believe, "We're all bound together by one thing -- we're New Yorkers. We must stand united."

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