NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man is accused of shouting at two Jewish college students for wearing a yarmulke.

CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reports the incident happened to two Yesihva University students at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Washington Heights on Monday afternoon.

“The students were inside enjoying a break and someone told them to take off their kippah, their yarmulkes, their head coverings,” Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the university’s vice president, told CBS2.

Police told CBS2 the man, who was seemingly angered by the students’ presence, was shouting at them, telling the students their religion is a lie.

“Take off your yarmulke. You’re a liar. Your religion is a lie,” Paul Murtha, the university’s director of security, told CBS2 of what the man said.

Brander said what the stranger did is an attack on their most basic beliefs.

“The yarmulke actually means to actually have the fear of God, to recognize that there is something above us,” he said.

Security said it has dedicated more resources to a “higher alert” security patrol in the past few months, a difference the students can see.

“We have to encounter security on a regular basis. There’s more patrol. I’ve noticed the 100 percent increase in police,” one Yeshiva student told CBS2.

Junior Jakob Finkel said that he has been heckled for wearing his yarmulke in public.

“[In] the past, I’ve been heckled for wearing a yarmulke in public, it’s something that I just kind of taken in stride and not let it affect you,” Finkel said. “There’s a lot of crazy people out there and I would like to think that the general population is pretty accepting of anybody’s religious faith.”

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident as the Dunkin’ Donuts manager has handed over surveillance video to police.

“They got another thing coming to them,” state Sen. Adriano Espillat said. “We’ll push back as a community.”

The targeted students have returned to class.

Community Board 12 said they will hold cultural education workshops in the neighborhood.


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