ADL: Bronx Verdict Demonstrates the Value of Hate Crimes Laws
New York, N.Y., December 12, 2002 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded the historic conviction of Mazin Assi, whose attempted firebombing of a Riverdale synagogue was the first crime to be charged under New York State's hate crimes law.
"Today's verdict has sent a powerful message: senseless acts motivated by bigotry and hatred will not be tolerated because hate crimes laws work," said Joel J. Levy, ADL New York Regional Director. "We have been following this case closely from the beginning and are pleased with the outcome. The verdict is important to both the Jewish community of Riverdale and all citizens of New York State."
Mr. Assi and a co-defendant wanted to "teach the Jews of Riverdale a lesson" by attempting to firebomb Congregation Adath Israel of Riverdale with Molotov cocktails in October 2000.
ADL has been a pioneer in drafting and promoting hate crimes laws across the country since 1981. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have now enacted statutes based on or similar to ADL's model legislation. New York State's hate crimes legislation was signed into law by Governor George Pataki in June 2000.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.