Former Obama official caught on video engaging in Islamophobic harassment

Wed, 22 Nov 2023 7:56 GMT
Stuart Seldowitz calls street vendor 'terrorist' and insults Prophet Muhammad.
Former Obama official caught on video engaging in Islamophobic harassment

Stuart Seldowitz, a former Obama administration adviser, was captured on video making threats and Islamophobic comments against a Muslim food vendor in New York City, footage circulating Tuesday on social media showed.

In one video, Seldowitz calls the vendor a "terrorist" and yells at him.

"You support terrorism. You support killing little children. You’re a terrible person,” he says.

The vendor replies, saying: "You kill children, not me.”

Before leaving, Seldowitz says: "If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough."

In another video which was taken during an evening encounter with the same vendor, Seldowitz speaks about "his friends in immigration" and says "the Mukhabarat wants your picture," referring to Egypt’s intelligence agency.

Wearing a green hoodie, he says: "The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents. Does your father like his fingernails? They’ll take them out one by one."

The vendor responds with "Go, go."

Seldowitz then picks up his phone and appears to take a photo of the vendor, telling him to "smile for me."

Refusing to leave the area, he makes insults against Prophet Muhammad and asks the vendor: "Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad did? Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad?"

He later refers to Prophet Muhammad as a "rapist."

The vendor says he does not speak English, but Seldowitz continues his harassment.

"What do you speak? You speak Arabic, the language of the Quran, the holy Quran that some people use as a toilet. What do you think of that, people who used the Quran as a toilet? Does it bother you?" he asks mockingly.

"That’s why you're selling food in a food cart, because you’re ignorant. But you should learn English. It’ll help you when they deport you back to Egypt and then the Mukhabarat wants to interview you.”

In another video, he harasses the same vendor but is interrupted by a bystander who tells him to leave, saying "It's not right; you are harassing."

Seldowitz served as the acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate under the Obama administration. He also worked as a senior political officer in the State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

Earlier Tuesday, Gotham Government Relations, a lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C., announced that it has severed ties with Seldowitz after the videos surfaced.

"Gotham Government Relations has ended all affiliation with Stuart Seldowitz, an individual who hasn't contributed to our work in years. The video of his actions is vile, racist, and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm," it said on X.


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