A Brooklyn man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for pointing a taser at and threatening to kill a man outside a mosque, police said on Sunday.
Kevin Keating, 27, approached the man after midnight on Friday morning as he he was leaving a mosque in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to police. “You f-cking Muslim,” Keating allegedly taunted. “Why you doing Ramadan, motherf-cker? Next time I see you I’m going to kill you.”
According to the police source, Keating then brandished a taser, pulling on the weapon to produce electrical sparks and instructing the victim to “come here.” The encounter ended there, police said, and Keating was subsequently arrested and charged with harassment as a hate crime and menacing in the third degree.
The confrontation came one day before the end of Ramadan, and on the heels of several other threats made toward local Muslims.
Hours before the taser incident, two Muslim institutions in Manhattan—the Islamic Cultural Center on the Upper East Side and the Muslim Education and Converts Center in Midtown—received threatening letters, according to the Daily News. “Muslim Dear Scum,” read the letter sent to the Islamic Cultural Center, “a bomb has been placed very close to your mosque. If you continue to worship your pedophile messiah we will be forced to detonate it. Good day.”
That letter was postmarked from England, and police are reportedly investigating the threat in connection with a letter sent Wednesday to the Masjid Manhattan Mosque, which promised a coming massacre “on a scale never seen.”
Albert Fox Cahn, legal director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations-New York, told Gothamist: “We continue to be concerned about the apparent spike in the number of anti-Muslim attacks and attacks on mosques. We’re urging mosques across New York state to take all appropriate security measures, especially during the Eid holiday.”
Sunday is the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a three-day Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan.