Melville mosque members concerned for safety following outburst over Israel-Hamas conflict

Omar Amin, 16, is a volunteer at the mosque who saw the incident and called police. He says he feared for his life, not knowing if the man had a weapon or what could happen.

Kevin Vesey

Feb 22, 2024, 10:45 PM

Updated 53 days ago


Congregants of a Melville mosque are concerned for their safety, after a man went on a minute-long tirade over the Israel-Hamas war.
The incident was caught on camera at the Islamic Center of Melville Wednesday afternoon. The man could be seen recording worshipers with his own phone, and positioning a baseball cap over his eyes. He shouted “free the Israeli hostages now,” and called the Muslim congregants “racist.”
Mosque leaders say the outburst was initially not given enough attention by Suffolk County police. Islamic Center President Talaat Abdelmoneim says the man was released after speaking with officers.
“Why was he not locked up? If he did this in any other religion other than Muslims, would it be going like this? That’s really the concern,” Abdelmoneim said.
Those concerns were eased on Thursday, when high-ranking police officials and detectives from the hate crimes unit were at the mosque conducting what police called a “follow-up investigation.”
A Suffolk police spokesperson says no threats were made. Despite the investigation by the hate crimes unit, police determined that no hate crime was committed.
Nobody has been arrested. The man in the video was not identified by police.
Patrols have been stepped up around houses of worship.

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