After much speculation, the Rev. Al Sharpton has declined the invitation to attend a panel highlighting the 20th anniversary of the 1991 race riots between Blacks and Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, New York Daily News reports.
The racial tensions came to a head when a Jewish man was fatally stabbed by a Black man in the Crown Heights neighborhood on Aug. 19, 1991.
The man’s family and other Jewish leaders have publically blamed Sharpton for exacerbating the situation after the riots.
On Thursday, Sharpton announced he would not attend out of respect for the slain man’s family.
New York Daily News writes:
Norman Rosenbaum, whose brother Yankel was killed, angrily denounced plans to include Sharpton at Sunday's event in the Hamptons. He was thrilled, yet disappointed, by word that the panel was postponed.
"That's great news," Rosenbaum said through family spokesman Isaac Abraham. "But Sharpton ran from the perfect opportunity to apologize to the Jewish community."
Sharpton, in a two-page letter, made it clear that he felt there was no need for an apology. His decision was made in deference to Rosenbaum's feelings.
"Since the event has now been distorted and would cause pain to (Rosenbaum), I, out of respect to his request, have decided to decline to participate in Sunday's event," Sharpton concluded.
The panel’s organizer, the well-known Rabbi Marc Schneier, had said the event was to focus on the state of relations between the two communities, the report adds.
The panel has been postponed until a later date.