Interfaith leaders stand in solidarity with Flushing community amid coronavirus fears

Photo by Angelina Sun

As fears of the coronavirus loom over the city impacting Asian-American owned businesses, interfaith leaders joined in solidarity with the Flushing community for lunch at Dumpling Galaxy, a local restaurant that serves more than 100 kinds of dumplings, noodles and other Chinese dishes. 

The lunch was organized by the Flushing Interfaith Council and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce at the restaurant located in Arcadia Mall at 42-35 Main St. 

More than a dozen faith leaders representing the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Baháʼí faiths gathered to caution New Yorkers against the panic spreading in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

For example, the leaders discussed the images used by the New York Times and the New York Post to illustrate reports of the city’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, even though the victim returned from a trip in Iran, lives in Manhattan, and is not connected with the immigrant community in Queens. 

“Flushing businesses are already experiencing a 30 to 50 percent drop in revenue because of the coronavirus panic,” said Taehoon Kim, an acupuncturist and president of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. “Today’s news reports in the Times and Post will certainly add oil to the fire. As a business owner in Flushing, I take this as a declaration of economic war against Asians in addition to blatant racism.”

Other faith leaders who spoke out against the New York Times and New York Post include: Jack Chang, a member of the Baháʼí community of Queens and president the Flushing Interfaith Council; Caroline Lane, clerk of Flushing Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Ramanathan Subramony of the Hindu Temple Society, Souksavat Soukhaseum of the Free Synagogue of Flushing, Lourdes Hartick of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Sau Chau of St. Michael’s Church.  

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