LONG BEACH ISLAND -- A plane that towed a banner displaying the word "Swastika," and showed a swastika intertwined with the Hebrew Star of David, flew over Long Beach Island and along the Jersey Shore on Saturday.
The Long Beach Township Police Department received at least several calls reporting the sighting, according to Bill Gee, a dispatcher with the department. Reports of the plane and banner have been reported as far north as Manhattan.
The plane appears to have been sponsored by an organization connected to the Raelian Movement, which claims life on Earth was created by a species of extraterrestrials.
The Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island said it is aware of the incident and wants to know more.
"We're trying to find out-- what are their intentions?" said Don Pripstein, the center's president.
In a press release, the group said it intended to fly the banner on Saturday over New York City from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and “along the New Jersey coastline” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Flights were also scheduled for other U.S. cities including Houston, Los Angles, Chicago and Miami.
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The Raelians' press release also declared Saturday as their "3rd Annual Swastika Rehabilitation Day," and invited Buddhists, Hindus and the numerous spiritual groups who use the swastika as their spiritual symbol to stand up and show their support in cities around the world.
According to its Web site, the swastika is a "symbol of peace and good luck in many Eastern religions." One variation of the symbol on the site shows it intertwined with a hexagram or the Hebrew Star of David and is described as the the “official” symbol of the movement.
This symbol or a slight variation of it is what callers told township police they had seen on Saturday.