A kosher food street vendor in New York City claims he is being harassed by what he calls the “halal mafia”–a group of Egyptian competitors who have blocked him from setting up shop in Midtown.
Yisroel Mordowitz, 30, owner and operator of the “Holy Rollers” kosher food cart, told the New York Post that his Egyptian competitors have resorted to placing non-operating food carts, and other items like umbrellas, in his way, literally preventing him from setting up his cart.
“I thought I could bring peace to Midtown,” Mordowitz told the Post. “I’m not an enemy – I’m a friend.”
The “Holy Rollers” team chronicled the food-cart war on Facebook.
“As we were looking for another spot in the midtown area, the halal mafia sent a jeep to follow us,” read a post on the cart’s Facebook page last week. “As we found potential locations they shifted hot dog carts from corner to corner to block any potential possibilities.”
Earlier that day, the group wrote: “Today when we got to our location on 48th and 6th our wonderful halal friends decided to put 4 carts, 3 unworked. And now there is no room for us on that corner today.”
The kosher vendor told the paper that other vendors shouted, “This is not Palestine!” at him.
“They’re trying to say that the Jews in Israel are pushing people out, so don’t do it here,” Mordowitz said.
Mordowitz and his cart were ultimately forced to move to 35th Street and 9th Avenue, eventually setting up shop near the Hasidic-run photography superstore B&H Photo, according to the report.
“This guy is hungry – hungry for money,” Mohamed Mossad complained to the Post. “I have a family too! Why doesn’t he go to 47th Street? He’s just coming to this particular spot, and he wants to grab it from me – and kill me, actually. Kill my business.”
Still, according to the cart Facebook page, it seems Mordowitz and his crew are getting the last laugh; on Thursday, a thank-you post read: “After all of the complications that we incurred, we have officially sold out again once more, we have doubled out meat orders daily, and we have continued to sell out.”