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Long Island attorney faces charges for incident at Islamic Center of Melville

Man faces charges for incident at Islamic Center of Melville
Man faces charges for incident at Islamic Center of Melville 02:16

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A Long Island attorney is on the wrong side of the law, charged Friday with criminal trespassing and harassment for entering a mosque and chanting about freeing Israeli hostages. 

Staff and worshipers were alarmed when a man entered the Islamic Center of Melville Wednesday afternoon and began chanting. 

"Free Israeli hostages now! Free the Israeli hostages now," Jordan Endler allegedly said during the incident. 

A young volunteer hid, and called police. 

"There has been recent islamophobia, so I just went to the bathroom, because I don't know if he has  a gun," Omar Amin said. 

"We opened the door, open the door to talk to him, but he was not coming to talk," Essam Ibrahem, chairman of the Islamic Center of Melville. 

"Are you praying for the Israeli Jewish women? Will you specifically you're praying for Israeli Jewish?" the man can be heard asking on the video. 

Witnesses said Endler rubbed his shoes on prayer rugs - a show of disrespect - used obscenities about a call for a ceasefire, and refused to leave. 

Responding police spoke with Endler, of East Northport, but didn't arrest him until after mosque leaders met with Suffolk Police and showed them the video. 

"People were outraged because we thought it was not taken seriously enough," one person said. 

"They answered it was an argument. That wasn't an argument. It was more than an argument," Dr. Talaat Abdelmoneim president of the Islamic Center of Melville, said. "There is a right way and a wrong way to express your opinion." 

Endler pleaded not guilty to criminal trespass and harassment. The judge issued a stay away order. 

Endler told the judge it was unnecessary because he would never go back. His attorney said when Endler was asked to leave, he did. 

Worshipers said mosque doors will be locked from now on. Suffolk Police are stepping up patrols at religious institutions. 

"We feel bad for him, but we don't know what his intentions, what his motives," Abdelmoneim said. 

Both the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Anti-Defamation League condemned the tirade. The ADL said all should feel safe in their houses of worship. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is deeply disturbed by the incident, and that anyone harassing members of the Muslim, or any other community, based on faith must be held accountable. 

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