NYC halal cart vendor holds ex-Obama aide for anti-Muslim abuse

NYC halal cart vendor holds ex-Obama aide for anti-Muslim abuse

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NYC halal cart vendor holds ex-Obama aide for anti-Muslim abuse

A still image from one of the videos showing Stuart Seldowitz confronting the food cart vendor, Mohamed Hussein. Image: BBC


NYC halal cart vendor holds ex-Obama aide for anti-Muslim abuse.

Police arrested an ex-state department aide who allegedly insulted Muslims at a NYC food vendor.

In media interviews, Stuart Seldowitz has admitted to calling the seller a “terrorist” in viral footage.

He said the person’s Hamas backing enraged him.

The halal cart vendor, Mohamed Hussein, denied supporting Hamas to journalists.

A New York Police Department official told the BBC that Mr. Seldowitz was arrested on Wednesday, but charges were not yet forthcoming.

He says, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what, it wasn’t enough.”

According to X, formerly Twitter, he calls the merchant “ignorant”, suggests the Egyptian secret police could torture his family, and makes incendiary remarks against the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran in another encounter viewed over 40 million times.

“You’re harassing this man.” says a bystander during another confrontation.

Under President Barack Obama, Mr. Seldowitz directed the White House National Security Council after a long career in the US Department of State, including in the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that Mr. Seldowitz had affirmed being the person in the videos, stating, “The bottom line is, yes, it’s me.” He expressed the belief that a response was warranted when someone endorses terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians.

In an interview with City & State, Mr. Seldowitz expressed regret, saying, “I regret the whole thing happened, and I’m sorry. But you know, in the heat of the moment, I said things that probably I shouldn’t have said.”

Formerly associated with the lobbying company Gotham Government Relations, Mr. Seldowitz faced strong condemnation from the firm.

The company labeled his actions as “vile, racist, and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm.” Although a November 2022 press release referred to him as the firm’s “Foreign Affairs Chair,” the founder clarified that he hadn’t worked for the company in about five years, and the title was honorary.

Gotham’s president expressed deep dismay over the incident, swiftly severing all ties with Mr. Seldowitz.

The video garnered significant public support for the food truck vendor, Mr. Hussein, on social media, with New York Mayor Eric Adams denouncing Islamophobia and expressing solidarity.

Responding to the incident, Mayor Adams posted on social media, “Islamophobia is hate. Plain and simple. This vile, disrespectful rhetoric has no home in our city. We reject it—and we’re glad to see we’re not alone.” Mr. Hussein, originally from Egypt, has announced plans to sue Mr. Seldowitz.

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