Young Men Face Hate Crimes Trial for Attempted Arson of New York Synagogue

August 27, 2002

Source: New York Daily News

On August 27, 2002 the New York Daily News reported that "Mohammed Alfaquih, 20, and Mazin Assi, 23, both of Yonkers, are charged with attempting to set fire to the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale [New York] on Oct. 8, 2000...  The incident took place just before the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The men have been charged with committing a hate crime and face up to 15 years in prison... Family and friends of the young Arab [men] accused in a synagogue arson attempt said yesterday they fear the shadow of Sept. 11 could fall across the trial...  'All we want is a fair trial,' said Manal Alfaquih, Mohammed Alfaquih's sister-in-law... The Yonkers men were the first to be charged under the state's new hate crimes law. The legislation, which carries stiffer penalties for bias crimes, went into effect three hours before the incident."