WOODBURY - A plane towing a swastika banner was flown along the South Shore Saturday, according to witnesses who called News 12 Long Island.
Beachgoers at Point Lookout say they saw a plane flying overhead with a banner that showed a swastika plus a peace sign, equaling a heart. The banner advertised the website pro-swastika.org.
The website says Saturday marked the conclusion of “International Swasitka Rehabilitation Week,” which seeks to change the message conveyed by the swastika, most often associated with Nazi Germany. The website is run by a religion called the Raelian Movement, which considers the swastika a religious symbol.
A spokesperson for the religion says long before Nazi Germany, the swastika was a symbol prevalent throughout history, transcending continents and cultures. He says their goal is to promote peace, not Nazism.
However, residents who spoke with News 12 say it is a symbol of hate to them regardless of what the image may mean to the people who flew the plane, and they do not want to see it.
The group also flew a banner over Long Island beaches last summer. Its spokesperson says that this weekend, they have 40 banners flying over 40 different cities across the world.