Thursday, March 27, 2008

The View of a Brooklyn Crime from Wellesley, Mass.

Yesterday, a teenager was charged with a hate crime for allegedly taking a yarmulke from someone's head at the Fourth Avenue Station in Park Slope back on March 18 The Daily News had some details, but the story that captured our attention was the one on Wicked Local Wellesley. The victim is a rabbinical assistant there:
A New York teenager is being charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime after allegedly stealing a Wellesley rabbi’s yarmulke in a Brooklyn subway station last week. Rabbi Uria Ohana, 25, a rabbinical assistant at the Wellesley-Weston Chabad Center, had just entered a Park Slope subway station at 4th Avenue and 9th street at 6:20 p.m. on March 18 when he felt someone grab his yarmulke.

Turning around, he said, he saw an Arab teenager running down the stairs, and decided to chase him to get his yarmulke back. Running through the station, they passed a group of the boy’s friends who began chasing Ohana and screaming, “Allahu Akhbar!”

Ohana chased the boy, identified as Ali Hussein, 18, of Queens, outside, where he ran into the street and was hit by a car. Hussein’s friends caught up with Ohana and began shouting, “you see what you do?” punching him in the head, and screaming “Allahu Akhbar.”...There were numerous witnesses outside the crowded subway station, he said, and many of them pulled out cell phones to call 911. Before police arrived, a black SUV pulled up, and two of Ohana’s attackers jumped in the car and drove away, leaving Hussein at the scene...

The rabbi, who has been in the States for two years and spends half his time studying in Brooklyn, and the other half working at the Chabad center in Wellesley, wants to draw attention to the case “for the police to see that it’s something serious,” he said. “Attacking a Jew just for being a Jew — it’s important that this doesn’t happen. This kind of hate crime, it’s important to me that it doesn’t occur.”
The "Yarmulke Theft Teen," in the Daily News' words, could face seven years in prison.

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