Haider Anjam and Ashan Azad have been charged with hate crimes after assaulting two Jewish teenagers and shouting antisemitic statements outside a Borough Park, Brooklyn synagogue Saturday night. The Brooklyn men allegedly damaged a car and threatened four people outside the New York synagogue during a hate crime spree.
Both 20-year-old Anjam and 19-year-old Azad were arrested on Wednesday after NYPD officers determined their connection with multiple accounts of hate crimes in the Brooklyn area. They were charged with harassment and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, and Haider Anjam has also been charged with menacing as a hate crime.
A third suspect, 20-year-old Brooklyn resident, Daniel Shaukat, was arrested for aggravated harassment as a hate crime and has since been arraigned on additional charges. Shaukat also faces charges of assault as a hate crime and harassment.
According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, Shaukat’s bail was set at $5,000. Anjam and Azad have not yet been arraigned and it is unclear whether any of the three suspects have legal representation.
Haider Anjam, Ashan Azad, and Daniel Shaukat allegedly committed a spree of hate crimes on Saturday night, beginning after they arrived outside Agudath Israel of Sixteenth Avenue in Borough Park. The three men pulled up in a blue Toyota Camry and began shouting anti-Semitic statements towards a group of four men waiting outside the synagogue.
Among their horrific statements was “we’ll kill all the Jews,” after allegedly screaming, “free Palestine.” As the shouting outside the synagogue continued, the four men hid inside, locking the doors behind them. The three men reportedly left their Camry and began banging on the doors. The suspects also kicked one of the side-view mirrors off a 2014 Audi Q7 outside the synagogue. More than $250 worth of damage was witnessed by law enforcement after reviewing security camera footage.
After the attack on the synagogue, the three men continued their spree, confronting two Jewish teens. Haider Anjam and at least one other suspect reportedly demanded one of the Jewish victims proclaim, “free Palestine.” When he refused, Anjam and the other suspect assaulted him, punching him in the face, head, and lip and putting him in a chokehold.
Both assailants then moved to the second victim, demanding they declare “free Palestine.” When the second victim refused, both Anjam and the second suspect struck him in the back of the head.
The hate crime spree is one of 80 such incidents so far this year, compared to 62 at this time in 2020. The NYPD is beginning to crack down on the increased hate-based violence. Mayor Bill de Blasio has told New Yorkers on several occasions that extra police will be stationed outside Jewish places of worship.
“That incident is unacceptable,” de Blasio said after an incident Monday where a Shul on Staten Island was vandalized. “Anyone who commits a hate crime, we’re gonna find them.”
On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio said that the NYPD would be out “in force in Jewish communities to protect people.”
Governor Cuomo also spoke about the increased hate crime in the state. He has stationed extra patrols at downstate synagogues, schools, and other Jewish community facilities in response. “I am sickened by the series of anti-Semitism acts in New York City and across the state,” Cuomo admitted. “This behavior does not represent who we are as New Yorkers, and the cowards responsible for these despicable acts are only seeking to divide and intimidate us — but we will never let hate win.”
The increase in hate crimes seems to be linked to the conflict in Israel, which has thousands of Americans divided. Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel sentiments have been shared on both sides.