Press Releases

CAIR-NY Welcomes Arrest in Hate Attack on Brooklyn Priest

CAIR NY logo(NEW YORK, NY, 1/23/17) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed an arrest for the allegedly racially-motivated hate attack on Rev. Uriroghene Okrokoto, a Brooklyn-based priest who recently immigrated to New York from Nigeria.

According to police, the alleged perpetrator shouted racial slurs, spat on the victim and brandished a baseball bat. Joseph Mattarelliano, who faces charges of weapons possession and menacing as a hate crime for the January 13th attack, surrendered to police on Friday.

See: Nigerian Catholic priest attacked in racial-hate attack

“We stand in solidarity with all people who are targeted for their race or religion, or because of any other form of bigotry,†said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “People of all faiths must come together in the face of this ignorance and hate.â€

Last week, CAIR-NY condemned a bomb threat against a Syracuse Jewish Community Center.  The threat, which was made by telephone, forced the center to evacuate its facility and conduct a full k-9 sweep.

SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Bomb Threats Against Syracuse, NY Jewish Community

Late last month, CAIR’s national office expressed solidarity with Montana’s Jewish communities after neo-Nazis announced plans to stage an armed, anti-Semitic march in that state.  In that case, a leader of the neo-Nazi movement announced plans for the hate march in Whitefish, Montana “against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either.â€

SEE: CAIR Expresses Solidarity with Montana Jewish Community as Neo-Nazi Plans Armed Anti-Semitic March

That same month, CAIR’s Greater Los Angeles Area chapter expressed similar solidarity with the Christian community in that state following apparent hate vandalism targeting an Assyrian church in San Fernando, Calif.

SEE: CAIR-LA Expresses Solidarity with Christian Community After Hate Vandalism of Assyrian Church

CAIR and the American Muslim community has in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

Muslim community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at:

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, 917-669-4006,; Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Cahn, 571-766-6273,

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