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30 Dec, 2012

NY Subway Murder: Anti-Muslim Ads Lead to Horrendous Hate Crime


Washington, DC | www.adc.org | December 30, 2012 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is appalled and shocked at the horrendous murder of Sunando Sen, who was pushed onto the tracks of an elevated subway station in Queens, NY and crushed by an oncoming train, on Thursday, December 27.  ADC extends deepest condolences to the family of the victim.  The suspect, a 31 year-old woman was arrested Saturday and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.

Upon her arrest, Erika Menendez, informed law enforcement officials that she believed the victim “to be a Muslim or Hindu,” and continued by telling police, “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.”

The murder of Mr. Sen at a New York Subway Station comes only weeks after Pamela Geller placed hate-ads targeting the Arab and Muslim community in subway stations across New York.  One of the ads insinuated that Arab and Muslims are “savages” and another ad has an image of the World Trade Center exploding next to a quote from the Quran.

Mr. Sen’s murder is a clear example of how hate speech can lead to and incite violence against Arabs, Muslims, and those perceived to be Arab or Muslim.  ADC, and hundreds of diverse coalition partners, have been warning public officials about the impact the ads can have against community members.  The promotion and placement of advertisements targeting and vilifying any community must not be tolerated.

ADC calls on the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and appropriate law enforcement agencies, to immediately investigate the role the ads played in the death of Mr. Sen.

Pamela Geller is recognized as being at the core of a group promoting intolerance of Muslims and Arabs in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors the hate movement in the United States, calls her “the anti-Islam movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.”

ADC, along with NY civic and community leaders, calls on all Arab and Muslims in New York City to exercise extreme caution and diligence when using the subway system.  ADC will continue to monitor the matter and work to make certain adequate measures are taken to ensure the safety and protection of Arabs, Muslims, and those perceived to be Arab or Muslim, in New York. Read more about this horrendous crime.