A Sunday attack on two teens who were beaten outside of their mosque will not be treated as a hate crime because according to the NYPD, the victims flirted with the suspect’s girlfriend, DNAinfo reports.
The victims, 16 and 17, were standing outside Madine Muslim Community Center in Brooklyn, New York, after a Ramadan prayer service around 1:15 a.m., when they made verbal contact with the suspect’s girlfriend that triggered “a violent retaliation,” police told DNAinfo.
Mosque director Mohamed Bahe offered a different story to BuzzFeed News:
“We had two volunteers, and they saw a suspicious car parked outside of our entrance. They looked at the car, trying to figure out who’s inside. They saw a woman and they asked if she needed help. Then all of a sudden a guy comes across running from the street and punches him and knocks him down. He was stomping him and kicking him,” Bahe said.
Bahe said the second victim heard the suspect yell,“You f*cking terrorist!” while he punched and kicked the first victim. The young man originally ran away, but was assaulted by the suspect when he ran back toward the mosque.
After viewing the footage, Bahe said he recognized the suspect as a local man who lived in the vicinity. Bahe told BuzzFeed he previously inquired with NYPD’s 72nd precinct for additional security surveillance, citing the month of Ramadan and an uptick of anti-Muslim attacks around the country.
According to DNAinfo, police identified the suspect, but have not made an arrest.
An NYPD police spokesperson said the victims didn’t hear any anti-Muslim slurs during an investigative interview. Bahe begs to differ.
“This is a blatant cover-up,” he said to BuzzFeed, insinuating that police only spoke with the teen who was first beaten and not the teen who heard the verbal assault.
Bahe stated Captain Emmanuel Gonzalez of the 72nd precinct visited the mosque after the attack and apologized for not sending additional police units to the mosque during Ramadan. He also assured that his department was taking the incident very seriously.
Muslims Giving Back, a nonprofit associated with the mosque, posted gruesome photos of the attack and alleged that one teen had a concussion after the attacker repeatedly kicked him in the face.
Now, community leaders are calling on the NYPD to investigate the incident as a hate crime. DNAinfo writes:
Elected officials like Public Advocate Letitia James and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz are also calling on the NYPD to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
“I am deeply disgusted by the assault of two Muslim teenagers that occurred outside of their mosque early this holiday weekend. This type of hate and violence will never be tolerated in New York City, especially during the holy month of Ramadan,” James said Monday in a statement.
“I urge the NYPD to investigate this as a hate crime, and continue to call on all New Yorkers to report hate crimes against any and all communities. New York City should be a safe haven for people from all walks of life and we must do all we can to prevent these vicious and hateful attacks.”
According to a 2015 report on hate crimes in New York, conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice Services, more than half — 51.4 percent — of all incidents involved an anti-religious bias, with 287 incidents reported. In the crimes against persons category, Muslims came in second, making up 6.2 percent with 16 incidents reported.
SOURCE: DNAinfo, BuzzFeed News, New York State Divison of Criminal Justice Services, Facebook | VIDEO SOURCE: WABC