Explosion at New York City's Port Authority

Dec 11, 2017

Explosion at New York City's Port Authority

News Updates

  • Pipe bomb exploded around 7:30am at the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square
  • NYPD identified the suspect as Akayed Ullah. He's a Brooklyn resident, 27, came to U.S. seven years ago from Bangladesh
  • CBS News reports the suspect had a second explosive device on his person.
  • President Trump has been briefed on the explosion, the White House said
  • FDNY now says at three people injured in addition to the suspect
  • The suspect told officials that he was inspired by the Islamic State to target an area near the Port Authority Bus Terminal, according to Washington Post
  • According to the New York Post: "The suspected bomber – a 27-year-old who lived in Brooklyn – had wires attached to him and was armed with a five-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub, sources said."
  • Transit cameras caught the incident on tape
  • Department of Homeland Security: "[we] can confirm that the suspect was admitted to the United States after presenting a passport displaying an F43 family immigrant visa in 2011. The suspect is a Lawful Permanent Resident from Bangladesh who benefited from extended family chain migration."

Talking Points

  • We are infuriated by all attempts to inflict mass violence, this time at New York City's Port Authority. An attempted attack on one of us is an attempted attack on all of us. We will not stand for violence against innocents, no matter what ideology feeds the attacker.
  • While those who attempt attacks of mass violence are few, we are many – when we as a community of rational, thoughtful humans condemn violence in all its forms in the strongest way possible, when we see the patterns that undercut all acts of mass violence from Las Vegas to Manhattan, we can create common sense solutions with lasting impact.
  • While we await additional information on the suspect, it is imperative that media outlets curtail irresponsible speculation and report responsibly and even-handedly. 
  • There are leaders who will weaken all of us by seeking to divide us. We know better. Recent events in Las Vegas and Charlottesville illustrate too well that violence isn’t owned by any one faith or political ideology – that it is a tool that the weak use to make themselves appear strong, and to assert power over a world in which they feel powerless.
  • We the people - and the leaders who guide us - have important choices to make: we can draw on our values and our strengths, or give in to our fears. America has always been strongest when we stand up for our ideals and rally together. It is true that we haven’t always lived up to our ideals, but when we do, we succeed. Those who would have Americans turn against one another or abandon our principles of free speech, free assembly, and freedom of religion are throwing away our greatest strength. That approach will not succeed, and we look back on the moments in our history when we abandoned our principles in shame, not pride.
  • We need to start pushing past our fear and be smart about how we tackle an epidemic of mass violence. Any national security investigations must be based on evidence, and when we look at mass violence as a whole instead of parsed out by perpetrator’s religion or ideology, we can see the patterns that will help us find common sense solutions. We will not single out an entire group of people because of their faith, the color of their skin, or their nation of origin.

Talking Points for Interfaith Leaders

  • New York City is among the most religiously diverse cities in the United States and the world. We take great pride in our ability for all people to be treated with the same dignity, fairness, and respect. 
  • This attempted attack will not break our spirit. We are #NYCStrong, across our many religious backgrounds. An attack against any New Yorker is an attack on the values of all our religions.
  • As people of faith, we reject appeals to fear and bigotry that follow these types of attempted attacks. We will not abandon our values just because right-wing media and politicians claim discrimination will keep us safe. Singling out any faith group betrays all of our religious values, it makes us less safe.


Messages to Avoid

Thanks to the ACLU's Manar Waheed for sharing these points to avoid in our messaging.

As details develop, many are referencing actions by the administration to poke holes in their recent policies. While that can sometimes be helpful, please be cautious about messaging that may further stereotype or play into problematic messaging regarding Muslim, Arab, Iranian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities. For example:

  • DON'T reference that Bangladesh is not a country on the Muslim ban. The Muslim ban is discriminatory and unconstitutional in that it bans entire entire populations of people based upon their religion, using national origin as a proxy. Suggesting that "terrorists" or perpetrators of violence come from Bangladesh is not a helpful narrative because it suggests that bans on entire countries were a perpetrator of violence came from would be ok--that would also be unconstitutional. While pointing out flaws in the President's policy might feel right, in this situation, it only serves to legitimize an illegal policy and vilifies another population.
  • DON'T connect Trump's anti-Muslim agenda or rhetoric to today's incident. Connecting these pieces suggests that Muslims are teetering on the edge of becoming terrorists and the administration is pushing them towards that with their actions, implying that Muslims are somehow prone to or on the edge of becoming violent. Studies have shown that no one race, ethnicity, religion, etc. is more prone to violence than others. Connecting these pieces is not only inaccurate, but it also perpetuates the idea of Muslims as violent or prone to violence.

If you wanted to connect Trump's policies to safety or national security, the connection would be that Trump is wasting resources targeting or banning whole populations with no basis, instead of focusing resources on fact-based investigations that could make us safer.

Social Media

  • The top tweet so far sends a strong message of resilience.
  • While there are some high-performing tweets, the opposition is doing a much better job of promoting each other and RT'd Islamophobic messages. 
  • Along with CAIR-NY, we encourage you to use #NYCStrong 


Additional Talking Points 

We've prepared these talking points in case specific policies are proposed by the Trump administration. We advise you to NOT use these proactively, but only in response to the opposition suggesting these policies.

More surveillance in MASA communities  

  • We are infuriated by all attempts to inflict mass violence, this time at New York City's Port Authority. An attempted attack on one of us is an attempted attack on all of us. We will not stand for violence against innocents, no matter what ideology feeds the attacker.
  • While those who attempt attacks of mass violence are few, we are many. We, as a community of rational, thoughtful humans condemn violence in all its forms in the strongest way possible. Violence is always wrong, no matter the motive.
  • From Charlottesville to Las Vegas and now to Manhattan, we need to look at the big picture of mass violence that affects all Americans. Instead of singling out an entire faith, we can prevent such violence through evidence-based investigations.
  • Right-wing media and politicians are trying their best to divide our city and communities across America after this attempted attack. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Hate must not beget hate.
  • We need strong national security policies rooted in evidence, not discrimination. Not only are these policies the ethical course of action, they are more effective at keeping us safe.
  • An attempted attack like this should not make us abandon our principles, but reaffirm them more strongly than ever. New York City and the United States must remain committed to ensuring equality under the law. Americans who are Muslim deserve to be treated with the same dignity, fairness, and respect as all Americans.

Adding Bangladesh to the Muslim ban

  • There are more than 75,000 immigrants in New York from Bangladesh, a country of 163 million. The Trump administration selectively assigns collective blame to entire groups of people (and not others), solely based on skin color and religion. 
  • The Trump administration began with a discriminatory Muslim Ban and further iterations still share the original intent of hurting minority communities and communities of color. This can be taken back further to Trump's comments as a candidate, which were explicit in their bigotry against minority groups.
  • The President is reckless to make national security policy on the fly. Instead of trusting national security experts and intelligence evidence, President Trump allows this attempted attack to dictate our policies just because of the suspect’s skin color and religious background. The President seemingly cares more about scoring political points with his base than conducting national security based in reason   
  • We are stronger when we stand together. Americans of all backgrounds came together when the Muslim Ban was first announced to protest at airports across the country. Since then, the American public has consistently resisted every iteration of the Muslim Ban. We are stronger when we come together as Americans and weaker when we let fear and lack of understanding come between us.

Graphics to Share

We encourage you to share the following un-branded graphics on your social media platforms, along with the hashtag #NYCStrong. 


President's Statement


Office of the Press Secretary


December 11, 2017

Statement from President Donald J. Trump Regarding Today’s Attack in New York City

Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City—the second terror attack in New York in the last two months—once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people.

First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country.  Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security.  My Executive action to restrict the entry of certain nationals from eight countries, which the Supreme Court recently allowed to take effect, is just one step forward in securing our immigration system.  Congress must end chain migration.  Congress must also act on my Administration’s other proposals to enhance domestic security, including increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, enhancing the arrest and detention authorities for immigration officers, and ending fraud and abuse in our immigration system.  The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear.  I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first.

Second, those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases.  America should always stand firm against terrorism and extremism, ensuring that our great institutions can address all evil acts of terror.