Sharpton condemns attack on yeshiva student


The Rev. Al Sharpton condemned the beating of a yeshiva student by five black teens.

Speaking in Harlem at an event commemorating Martin Luther King Day, Sharpton reportedly said that those who fight for their own rights are only as honorable as when they fight for the rights of all people.

Sharpton, the founder of the National Action Network, whose House of Justice hosted the event, went on to say that with bias or hate crimes, whether on the African-American community or not, it is important to speak up in order to gain moral authority.

The attack on Samuel Balkany, 16, is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Balkany said five teens in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood kicked and punched him while yelling anti-Semitic slurs after he left a friend’s house on the night of Jan. 18.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, the president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, had encouraged Sharpton to stand with the Jewish community in condemning the attack in remarks preceding Sharpton. Schneier had been invited to speak at the event by Sharpton.

Other speakers included New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

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