On July 24, members of a Muslim family who have lived in Malverne for 20 years came home to find something they had never encountered: two hate messages stuffed into their mailbox.
One note, written in red ink, said, “KKK Hate Muslims. We will kill you. Jesus loves you,” and was accompanied by an image of a swastika.
The other message, written on a small paper plate: “The KKK is coming for you Muslims.”
The homeowner, who declined to be identified, said she was in shock when she took them out of her mailbox. “Never have I come across anything that was remotely racist here,” she said.
Other village residents, equally shocked, started an outreach effort to the family, expressing their support.
Malverne Mayor Patti Ann McDonald said she met with the family to assure them that the incident did not represent what the village is about. “We know that this is, unfortunately, somebody with a lot of hate in their heart,” McDonald said. “They obviously were upset that someone would do something like this, but they knew that, even after 9/11, no one in the village ever showed them any type of hostility.”
McDonald said she could not get into the specifics of how the village Police Department was responding to the incident, but encouraged people to contact the police should it happen again. “When anything like this happens, we all take it personally,” she said.
Many residents, like Lori Lang, agreed. Lang started a “messages of love” effort, asking anyone who was disturbed by the hate messages to write positive notes, cards or drawings to the family, drop them in her mailbox, and she would deliver them. “In all my 43 years here, I’ve never heard of anything like this,” said Lang. “These positive messages will give parents an opportunity to discuss this incident with their kids.” Lang said anyone can drop a card at her home at 16 Coolidge St.
The Malverne Chamber of Commerce also sent the family flowers and letters of support, Lang said.
Rabbi Susan Elkodsi, of the Malverne Jewish Center, said she also paid a visit to the family. “There are quite a few people who have expressed their outrage and support,” Elkodsi said. “I know that the family is shaken by this, understandably. Even though this is happening all over, the fact that it is happening in Malverne is an anomaly.”
According to statistics cited by the Nassau County Police Department, bias incidents in the county are on the rise. From January through June 2016, 21 incidents were reported to the police. During the same six months this year, there were 29 incidents.
The homeowner said that despite the incident, she has nothing but love for the Malverne community. “We’re very close to our neighbors,” she said. “I consider a lot of my neighbors to be my family.”
Detectives request anyone with information about the incident to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 244-TIPS.