Legal Brief Insists NY Governor Is Committing Discrimination With School Closures

Several Muslim groups released a legal brief that supported Jewish parents in their suit against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his restrictions that target religious schools of the Orthodox Jewish communities.

The complaint, which was filed Oct. 16, was brought forth by the Religious Freedom Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute’s Islam and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. It purported New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo were discriminating against Jews by not allowing in-person schooling to take place at Jewish schools around the city.

According to the brief, there have been several instances of scapegoating of religious minorities in the past, such as Jews during the Black Death and Muslims after 9/11. It noted that the actions Cuomo has taken resemble these scapegoating instances.

The brief stipulates that Cuomo is blaming the Orthodox Jewish community for the spread of COVID-19 and targets them for restrictions and closures without any evidence.

A federal judge permitted Cuomo in early October to place more sanctions on houses of worship gatherings, including synagogues. According to Cuomo, it wasn’t something he wanted to do. However, it was seen as a government intrusion.

Several Jewish congregations have filed a suit against the state and governor for the alleged “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination.”

The suits were filed a little over a week after the governor allowed de Blasio to lock down the city’s 20 coronavirus hotspots, which included nine Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. Many Jewish community residents see the measure as Cuomo targeting Jews after using a 2006 photo at a news conference, as he was claiming that religious institutions were the reason for the increase in cases.

Cuomo said he has a lot of love for the community and most Ultra-Orthodox groups are being understanding in the matter. He said it’s just a minute number that wants to opt-out of the operations.

However, the Muslim groups see the matter as religious bigotry and that the governor’s orders on school restrictions in the Jewish communities were stricter than other communities’ schools. They claim that similar restrictions have not been imposed on other COVID hotspots that do not have Jewish populations.