Former Obama official charged with hate crime in New York after allegedly criticizing prophet Mohammed, threatening food cart vendor with deportation

"Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?"

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
A former official in the Obama administration was arrested after he was recorded allegedly harassing a New York City food cart vendor on the Upper East Side. He has been charged with a hate crime over the comments he made over a period of a few days.

Former acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate Stuart Seldowitz said that he made the comments after the food vendor expressed support for Palestinian terror group Hamas, which recently committed a massacre in Israel and kidnapped over 200 people, including women and children. Seldowitz also was the deputy director in the US State Department's Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999-2003.

Seldowitz could be seen on video telling the food vendor that he would call immigration and report him, as well as to the Muhabarat, Egypt's intelligence agency. He was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment 2, hate crime/stalking, stalking-cause fear, and stalking at employment.

A New York City Police Department spokesperson told Fox News, "A 24-year-old male victim stated to police that an individual approached him at his workplace multiple times and made anti-Islamic statements multiple times on different dates causing the victim to feel afraid and annoyed," the police spokesperson said.

New York Post reporter Jon Levine said "A man in New York City has been arrested for insulting the prophet Mohammad."

A hate crime is defined in New York City las as "A bias incident is any offense or unlawful act that is motivated in whole or substantial part by a person's, a group's or a place's identification with a particular race, color, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, ancestry, national origin, or sexual orientation (including gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender) as determined by the commanding officer of the Hate Crime Task Force."

Seldowitz told The New York Times that "he was not Islamophobic and that he had targeted the vendor only after he expressed support for Hamas."

"At that point, I got rather upset and I’ve said things to him, that in retrospect, I probably regret, though — that I do regret," Seldowitz said. "Instead of focusing in on him and what he said, I expanded into insulting his religion and so on."

City Councilwoman Julie Menin said Seldowitz comments were "unacceptable." 

"This individual targeted this street vendor day after day after day, threatened the vendor, clearly committed hate speech that was violent in nature and contained threats," she said.

In the video posted on Tuesday on X, Seldowitz, who served in the administration from 2009-2011, asked the vendor, "Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?" The vendor replied that he didn't speak English and asked Seldowitz to leave. Seldowitz declined the invitation to leave a public street.

In another video, Seldowitz asked the vendor if he had a permit allowing him to sell food on the street and if he had a visa. After again being asked to leave, Seldowitz said, "You support killing young children." The food vendor did not record video of himself praising Hamas, which Seldowitz alleged he had done.

"You kill children, not me. Go," the vendor replied.

"I didn’t kill children… If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough," Seldowitz said.

Seldowitz has been let go from his consultant position at New York City-based Gotham Government Relations.

According to a statement on the lobbying group’s website, "Gotham Government Relations has ended all affiliation with Stuart Seldowitz, an individual who hasn’t contributed to our work in years. The video of his actions is vile, racist, and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm."
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