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Home » Former Obama Official Arrested for Harassing Halal Food Vendor, Faces Hate Crimes Charges

Former Obama Official Arrested for Harassing Halal Food Vendor, Faces Hate Crimes Charges

by Eli Barker
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Stuart Seldowitz, a former Obama administration adviser, who was captured on video making threats and Islamophobic comments against a Muslim food vendor in New York City, was arrested on Wednesday and faces hate crimes charges, said police.

According to a statement from the New York Police Department, provided to Anadolu on Thursday, Seldowitz, 64, has been charged with aggravated harassment, hate crime stalking, stalking causing fear, and stalking at a place of employment.

“A 24 year-old male victim stated to police that an individual approached him at his work place multiple times and made anti-Islamic statements multiple times on different dates causing the victim to feel afraid and annoyed,” said the statement.

In one of the videos circulated on the internet, Seldowitz calls the vendor a “terrorist” and yells at him.
”You support terrorism. You support killing little children. You’re a terrible person,” Seldowitz says.

The vendor replies, saying: “You kill children, not me.”
Before leaving, Seldowitz says: “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough.”

In another video which was taken during an evening encounter with the same vendor, Seldowitz speaks about “his friends in immigration” and says “the Mukhabarat wants your picture,” referring to Egypt’s intelligence agency.

Wearing a green hoodie, he says: “The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents. Does your father like his fingernails? They’ll take them out one by one.”

The vendor responds with “Go, go, go.”

Seldowitz then picks up his phone and appears to take a photo of the vendor, telling him to “smile for me.”

Refusing to leave the area, he makes insults against Prophet Muhammad and asks the vendor: “Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad did? Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad?”

He later refers to Prophet Muhammad as a “rapist.”

The vendor says he does not speak English, but Seldowitz continues his harassment.

“What do you speak? You speak Arabic, the language of the Quran, the holy Quran that some people use as a toilet. What do you think of that, people who used the Quran as a toilet? Does it bother you?” he asks mockingly.

“That’s why you’re selling food in a food cart, because you’re ignorant. But you should learn English. It’ll help you when they deport you back to Egypt and then the Mukhabarat wants to interview you.”

In another video, he harasses the same vendor but is interrupted by a bystander who tells him to leave, saying “It’s not right; you are harassing.”

Seldowitz served as the acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate under the Obama administration. He also worked as a senior political officer in the State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

Deeply disturbed

On Tuesday, Gotham Government Relations, a lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C., announced that it has severed ties with Seldowitz after the videos surfaced.

“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,” it said on X.

Speaking to Anadolu through a translator on Wednesday, Mohamed Hussein, who was harassed by Seldowitz, said he feels tired and “cannot smile to customers” like he used to after the incidents.

Hussein, who has been in the US for five years and working for the food vendor in Manhattan for the past year, said it was the first time he has faced such harassment.

US Muslim group, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), expressed concerns about Seldowitz’s inflammatory statements.

“We are deeply disturbed by the racist, Islamophobic, and downright psychotic words of former Obama administration official #StuartSeldowitz,” it wrote on X. “We call on the @WhiteHouse and @StateDept to condemn him and make it clear the government will not be working with him in the future.”

When asked for an assessment by Anadolu regarding the incident, a US State Department spokesperson said: “The United States unequivocally opposes racist language of any form.”

Source : aa

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