Is Jesus a hate crime?
Police on Long Island ponder this question in the aftermath of an anonymous donor placing a picture of the crucifixion on a fence outside a mosque in New Hyde Park, New York. The cops reportedly regard the gift as a “bias incident” against Muslims. But the tacky turquoise picture featuring squiggly lines and a silhouette Christ seems more of an offense against aesthetics than the law.
A worker at the Hillside Islamic Center found the artwork at around 5:30 p.m. on Friday. He immediately phoned the police.
Surveillance video captured a frame-by-frame account of the alleged criminal act. The candid camera reportedly shows a man leaning the picture of the crucifixion against a fence, and then making his escape by walking away.
“My reaction was kind of surprised,” Abdul Bhuiyan told News12 Long Island. “In this community…we’ve been here since 2002. This is the first time this has happened.”
Such “bias incidents” occasionally work the other way. For instance, on Palm Sunday in Cairo, Muslims left a bomb rather than a painting at a church. The explosion killed 21 Christians.
Muslims regard Jesus as a prophet, a clue that, once discovered, might help investigators close this whodunit.
The unknown suspect remains at-large and perhaps armed with other hateful paintings, sketches, and etchings. Police hope to stop him before he gives away more illegal art. As numerous local reports note, Nassau County Crime Stoppers urges anyone with information on this “crime” to call 1-800-244-TIPS.