A Floral Park man was arrested for allegedly defacing a window at a Muslim-owned business in the village and has been charged with a hate crime, according to multiple reports.
Two weeks ago, Exquisite Ventures, a real estate investment trust, had the word “terrorist” written on one of its windows.
Police said that Andrew Niemer of Floral Park allegedly wrote the word on the Jericho Turnpike business.
After the incident, a news conference was organized by the organization Empowering Young Professionals. State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills) spoke in front of the business denouncing the act. Also present were Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) and Floral Park Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister, among others.
Senator Kaplan called the incident a “vile act of anti-Muslin hate.” “This incident was motivated by Islamophobia, plain and simple; and it’s something that our Muslim brothers and sisters should never have to endure,” she said, according to her Facebook page.
Also at the news conference, Sadiqur Rahman, owner of the business, said the act caught him off guard.
“When we saw the word ‘terrorist’ smeared on our glass we were a little taken aback,” Rahman told News 12. “It’s something we didn’t expect.”
Niemir was arraigned on Nov. 24 and is due in court next on Dec. 15. He is being represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County. He was charged with criminal mischief and, according to News 12, has also been charged with a hate crime.
Efforts to reach the defendant’s lawyer, or the business owner, were unavailing.
In August, graffiti depicting “bias slurs and religious words” was spray-painted on the roof, windows and fence of a Sikh temple under construction in Floral Park Center, according to the Nassau County Police Department.
Officials said the vandalism occurred between Monday evening, Aug. 2, and the following evening at the temple located at 383 Jericho Turnpike. Officials also said a ladder was discovered leaning against the side of the building, which allowed an unidentified person to enter the temple through a window.
Regarding the August incident, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement, “The vandalism found on the Sikh temple is nothing less than an act of hatred and Nassau County has zero tolerance for this type of behavior. We urge anyone who knows anything to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.”
Editor’s note: a previous version of this article was published. It has since been updated.