STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Three teens threw uncooked pork ribs at the Eltingville home of a Muslim woman Saturday night, sparking a hate crime investigation by the NYPD, the Advance has learned.
The incident happened at about 11:35 p.m., Saturday, according to an NYPD spokesman. The victim, a practicing Muslim who lives on Mosley Avenue near the Eltingville train platform, got a knock on the door, and when she went outside to answer, she found raw pork on her doorstep, the spokesman said.
A law enforcement source provided additional details on the incident — three white teens, ages 16 through 19, threw uncooked pork ribs at the house, then fled in a four-door sedan.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, the NYPD spokesman said.
No one answered the door at the woman’s house Tuesday afternoon.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products, and bigots often use pork as a means to taunt or offend, according to Islamic-American leaders.
In August 2012, someone scattered pieces of bacon over the New Dorp Beach field where the borough’s Muslim community celebrated the end of Ramadan, sparking a hate crime investigation.
“It’s a prevalent misunderstanding. It’s not poison. We just don’t consume it. But it’s intended as an insult,” said Hesham El-Meligy, the founder of the Islamic Civic Association-Staten Island.
The incident took place on the eve of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice — which commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son.
Even so, El-Meligy said, he doubts Saturday’s incident was sparked by the holiday. Rather, he suggested, the incident took place “on the heels” what he referred to as last week’s “tempest in the teapot” controversy surrounding the removal of a Hajj banner at the Muslim American Society of Staten Island in Dongan Hills.
“Definitely there is an impact of such ignorance, and not even an attempt to understand,” El-Meligy said.
The Dongan Hills mosque had put up a banner depicting an airliner, in celebration of Hajj, which is the annual Muslim pilgrimage now taking place to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Scott LoBaido, a local artist and community activist, visited the mosque after, he said, he learned about the banner on social media from community members worried that it was linked to the Sept. 11 attacks.
Last Tuesday, he posted the following message to his more than 4,600 friends on Facebook, several of whom work for a variety of news organizations: “I regards to the airplane on the front of the si mosque, everyone hold on for a bit. I am going there tonite to ask them about it and aske them to take it down. I will post outcome.”
That visit, and the request to remove the banner, sparked a media storm, with Muslim-American activists criticizing LoBaido for perpetuating anti-Islamic prejudice by pressuring the center into removing a harmless sign. LoBaido maintains that he visited the mosque to “try to defuse a possibly ugly event,” and said he didn’t contact the media.