A candidate for City Council in Queens is accused of practicing some strange religious rituals. NY1’s Erica Ferrari filed the following report why some Whitestone community members want Dan Halloran to step down.
A group of Whitestone residents gathered in protest Sunday against the Republican candidate for City Council District 19 in Queens.
The group spoke out against what they call his strange religious beliefs.
"Recent articles in the Village Voice and New York Post [say] that Dan Halloran is the leader of a neo-pagan religion who calls this community his Reich, who routinely practices animal blood sacrifice, and who has support from some of the worst hate groups in our country today,” said activist Michael Sais as to why he was protesting the candidate.
Sais is among some accusing Halloran of spreading anti-Semitism and sacrificing animals. They say Halloran is unfit to serve them.
"His viewpoints and his religious beliefs don't represent what the community represents,” said one local resident. “If elected, I’m not confident he could represent the community fairly and with an open mind.”
“It’s a kind of fringe belief and he's certainly entitled to it, but it’s kind of scary he's running for a public office,” said another.
Halloran strongly denied being anti-Semitic as he gathered with Jewish supporters Sunday. But he did not deny participating in heathenistic rituals, claiming religion has nothing to do with politics.
“The ball here is our neighborhood, keeping it safe secure and preventing overdevelopment,” he said. “That’s the issue. I’m not running on whether I’m a Christian or a Jew, a Muslim or a Hindu.”
Halloran blames Democratic rival Kevin Kim's campaign for starting the rumors.
“It’s a desperate, desperate maneuver by a desperate campaign that’s on the losing side of things, who will dig up anything they possibly can to destroy this campaign and they’re not going to be able to do it,” Halloran said.
A rally for Kim at a shopping mall in the borough Sunday afternoon got heated, with crowds from both sides shouting their loyalty to candidates.
But Kim denied any involvement and said he believes in religious freedom.
“One of the greatest things about this country is to have freedom of religion believe what you want; to me that's not an issue,” he said.
It remains to be seen whether all this controversy will drive voters to the polls on Tuesday.