An anonymous caller is taking credit for Sunday morning’s possible hate crime at a New Dorp Beach field where morning Ramadan prayers were scheduled, claiming in a message to the Advance that he been discarding spoiled bacon when he left it on the field.
“Hi, Deborah. [The caller is referring to Advance news reporter Deborah Young.] This is– I was reading the article about the horrible incident of bacon and Muslims in the park and I wanted to let you know that is not my intention,” said the male caller, in a 9:20 a.m. message left on a reporter’s voice mail Tuesday. He stops short of saying his name.
“I had put the bacon there. It was going bad in my trunk and I put it out for the scavengers like the opossums and the raccoons and sea gulls, and I did not intend for that to cause anybody any problems.
“It was not any (inaudible) anti-Muslim act, and I did not want to offend anybody in way. Thank you and have a good day.”
The Advance has informed the NYPD of the message, though a spokeswoman for Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne’s office declined to discuss its content except to say that it’s under investigation.
“This incident is being investigated by the hate crimes task force. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. Any calls will be kept confidential,” the spokeswoman said.
Organizers of the end-of-Ramadan ceremony found several strips of bacon strewn on John D’Amato Field at about 8 a.m. Sunday and contacted the NYPD.
One person who saw the bacon said it was found deep into the athletic field, and at least 50 feet or 60 feet away from any roadway, and a photo of the bacon shows it close to the painted lines of the soccer field.
The end-of-Ramadan ceremony, which drew 1,500 worshippers, to the field, was widely publicized in the days leading up to the event.
The NYPD is also investigating a hateful comment posted on an SILive.com preview story about the Ramadan event that Islamic civic leaders have suggested may be linked to the bacon.
The comment, posted hours before the celebration by a user with the name “007midland,” included a threat to bring a pig to the event and commit a vulgar act.
Police sources said that an NBC News report erred yesterday in stating that a note was left along with the bacon that was signed by someone who used a code name and referenced a website was incorrect. No physical note was left on the scene, sources said.
Dr. Mohamed Sadeia, the president of the Muslim American Society on Staten Island, which organized the gathering, said he had to change the seating arrangements to keep worshippers away from and largely unaware of the bacon.
“It was scattered in every area,” he said. “For me, personally, I don’t think it was coincidence, but I will let the NYPD and the appropriate law enforcement agencies deal with it.”
Dr. Sadeia added, “On behalf of the Muslim American Society and the Muslim community on Staten Island, I would like to thank our elected officials who stand up for constitutional rights, and those who made the safety of our community a priority,” referring to several elected officials who denounced the act on Monday.
As for the claim made in the phone message, he said, “I will leave that for the appropriate agencies to deal with it, and I cannot prove it’s right or wrong.”