Former National Security Council Chief Stuart Seldowitz, who served under President Barack Obama, was recently arrested and charged with a hate crime. This follows a widely circulated incident where he unleashed an Islamophobic tirade against a halal cart vendor in New York City. The vendor, 24-year-old Mohamed Hussein, expressed his desire to pursue legal action against Seldowitz for the distressing encounter.
Hussein, who works at the Q Halal Cart on the Upper East Side, recounted his fear and discomfort during repeated harassment by Seldowitz. Captured on video, Seldowitz can be seen verbally assaulting Hussein, including calling him a “terrorist” and making other derogatory comments. The vendor, an American citizen who moved from Egypt five years ago, was seen in the footage asking Seldowitz to leave him alone.
Seldowitz was apprehended by the NYPD and faces charges including aggravated harassment and hate crime stalking. He acknowledged being the individual in the videos but denied being Islamophobic.
The incident led to Seldowitz’s dismissal from Gotham Government Relations, a lobbying firm where he served as a consultant. The firm condemned his actions as “vile” and “racist,” stating they fell below their standard of conduct.
Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul also responded to the incident. Adams condemned the Islamophobic behavior, stating such rhetoric has no place in New York City. Hochul echoed similar sentiments, labeling the act as hateful and unacceptable.
This case highlights the ongoing concerns regarding hate speech and Islamophobia in diverse urban communities.