A Floral Park man faces a hate crime charge for allegedly using makeup to write a derogatory word on the window of a village shop owned by Muslims, according to court documents Monday.
Andrew Niemir, 58, was already charged with writing graffiti and attempted criminal mischief in the fourth degree for the Nov. 18 incident in which a window at the business on Jericho Turnpike was defaced. Niemir was arrested on Nov. 23 and has been released following his arraignment.
The nature of the graffiti written on the window was considered to be a hate crime because the shop owner "is of Arabic and Muslim descent," according to charging documents.
Sadiqur Rahman, who owns the business that was defaced, said Monday he appreciates authorities did their "due diligence" to capture Niemir.
"My religion, it teaches us to always forgive and believe that someone can change and be merciful," said Rahman, 26, of Queens, whose religion is Islam. "A part of me is, yes, happy that he was caught, and that they’re charging him with a hate crime. But the other part of me just hopes that at the end of the day, he’s still a person who made a mistake and I don’t think he deserves to go to jail for this."
Rahman, who relocated the business to Floral Park from Jamaica, Queens, about a year ago, said while the crime "was small" and "has a sensitive impact" he hopes Niemir receives community service such as helping out at a mosque or an Islamic Center to "see they’re not as bad as you assume they are."
According to charging documents, Niemir told authorities he’s going "apologize" and wants to tell "his side of the story."
"I wrote it but I didn’t mean anything by it," he told authorities. "I don’t hate anybody. I know it was stupid."
Niemir, who was arraigned last Wednesday and is represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, has a court appearance on Dec. 15, according to court records.