New York, NY, United States (4E) – An atheist group flew a swastika banner over beaches in Coney Island and parts of Long Island on Saturday angering some residents and politicians.
A small plane flew the banner as a grand finale to the The ProSwastika Alliance’s Swastika Rehabilitation Week that started July 5. The annual event held worldwide aims to inform people that the swastika is originally a symbol of peace before the Nazis adopted it and became a sign of racism, fascism and the Holocaust.
“The swastika symbol is one of the oldest symbols on the Earth and can be found in all religions and traditions, on all continents!” according to Proswastika.org.
Raelian Movement member Thomas Kaenzig said in a post on the group’s website., rael.org, that the group is not anti-semitic. The Movement believes that extraterrestrials created humans and other forms of life on Earth. It also believes that the swastika is a peace sign and was an ancient symbol of well-being to Hindus and Buddhists, among others.
Residents, however, found the banner distasteful. Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island, said the aerial display was hurtful and offensive.