Yet another suspicious claim of a hate crime against Muslims starts to unravel. In reality, hate crimes against Muslims are rare.
NEW YORK — A transportation police officer accused of aiding a bias-fueled beating of a Muslim religious leader in a subway station has been cleared of all criminal charges.
Manhattan prosecutors dropped their case against Eddie Crespo this week after a grand jury declined to indict him on any charges in the Dec. 8 incident. Co-defendant Albert Melendez was indicted on a misdemeanor charge, but prosecutors said the specific charge wouldn’t be revealed until his next court date, as is their common practice.
Both were initially charged with assault and robbery as hate crimes in an episode that sounded alarms among Muslim advocates. The men’s lawyers, however, said religion played no role in what they described as a straightforward scuffle over an accidental nudge on a train….
Prosecutors had said in a court document that Melendez, 30, declared “I don’t like Muslims” and used an insulting term for Muslims or Arabs while attacking a man who was wearing a traditional Muslim prayer cap and trying to get off a subway train in lower Manhattan.
The man, Imam Rod Peterson, has an arrest record of his own but now is a Muslim community leader in Queens, said his lawyer, Hassan Ahmad.
Crespo was accused of grabbing Peterson, 49, to help Melendez in the scuffle. According to prosecutors’ court papers, Melendez ultimately punched Peterson in the face and threw his prayer cap, called a kufi, onto the subway tracks. The imam ended up with a black eye, court papers said.
Defense lawyers said the fight began after Melendez and Peterson bumped into each other. Crespo told the grand jury he separated the two, asked Peterson whether he was all right, was rebuffed and walked away with Melendez, Keith said. Crespo never saw Peterson’s kufi, he said.
“He certainly did what he was supposed to do, as far as breaking up a fight between two men who got a little bent out of shape,” the attorney said.
Crespo and Melendez are friends, and Crespo dates Melendez’ sister; Melendez’ own longtime girlfriend is from a Muslim family, Keith said….
The Council on American-Islamic Relations — which issued a press release calling for hate crime charges as Crespo and Melendez awaited arraignment last week — said it had heard from Muslims “outraged by the attack and the result of the grand jury proceedings.”…
Hamas-linked CAIR and other Muslims have not hesitated to stoop even to fabricating “hate crimes,” including attacks on mosques. CAIR and other groups like it want and need hate crimes against Muslims, because they can use them for political points and as weapons to intimidate people into remaining silent about the jihad threat.