Pair pulls knife, baton on Ridge man in suspected hate crime

Two goons pulled a knife on a man and chased him down Fifth Avenue with a baton after calling him a “f—— Arab” outside a Bay Ridge mosque on July 13, police said.

The brutes got into an argument with the 23-year-old victim around 5:40 pm, because he was leaning on their parked car near 68th Street, according to police, and first reported on blog Bensonhurst Bean.

The victim apologized, but one of the goons grabbed him by his shirt and the other pulled a knife, officials said. He managed to get away, and the pair of punks chased him with a baton from their car, according to a police report. A stranger intervened, and the men fled in their car, police said.

The police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the crime, which they’ve classified as “menacing,” because the victim was not physically hurt. The dust-up went down across the street from the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge — perhaps the most prominent mosque serving the area’s sizable Muslim population.

Arabs are the second-largest ethnic group in Bay Ridge behind Italians, according to census figures, and the neighborhood has seen its share of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim conflict.

A man allegedly spit and yelled slurs at a Muslim woman waiting for a bus at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 68th Street last December. Roughly 200 people marched in solidarity with the victim a month later on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In 2014, a guy interrupted a Ramadan service at the mosque by blasting Hebrew music from an Israeli-flag-draped car. Police investigated believing he targeted the mosque, and a judge gave him one day of community service for the antics. Later that year, a man assaulted and threatened to lop off the head of Arab American Association director and rumored Council candidate Linda Sarsour outside her Fifth Avenue office in 2014. The man pled guilty to assault as a hate crime, court records show.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.