Jordan Endler was released from custody without bail after he was arrested for confronting people inside the Islamic Center of Melville. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports.   Credit: Photo Credit: Islamic Center of Melville ; John Roca; Newsday Staff

Suffolk County Police on Thursday arrested an East Northport man, who is an attorney, on charges of trespassing and harassing members at a Melville mosque.

Police said Jordan Endler entered the Islamic Center of Melville, on East Old Neck Road, Wednesday at 2:36 p.m., began walking around, and yelling. On a video of the incident, he can be heard repeating “Free the Israeli hostages.”

An employee initially let in Endler. But then he would not remove his shoes, as is the custom when entering a mosque, walked on carpets in prayer rooms and would not leave, center president Talaat Abdelmoneim said on Thursday.

“Endler allegedly refused, began yelling at the employee, and stayed inside the building until police arrived,” according to a statement by the Suffolk district attorney's office.

Endler, 46, was arrested at his Norton Drive home at 7:53 p.m. after an investigation by Hate Crimes Unit detectives, police said in a news release.

He was charged with third-degree criminal trespass and second-degree harassment, which are not hate crimes. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip on Friday, and was released on his own recognizance.

Judge Alonzo G. Jacobs granted a temporary order of protection for the center requested by prosecutors. Robert Curran of Long Beach, who represented Endler at arraignment, declined to comment when reached Friday evening.

Talaat Abdelmoneim is president the Islamic Center of Melville. He...

Talaat Abdelmoneim is president the Islamic Center of Melville. He is shown in the mosque on Thursday. Credit: Rick Kopstein

Abdelmoneim said initially mosque members felt law enforcement officials were slow to respond to their concerns, but after meeting with them Thursday afternoon, they felt better.

The Islamic Center of Melville on Friday, with its new...

The Islamic Center of Melville on Friday, with its new mosque under construction in the background. Credit: Tom Lambui

“We had a very constructive meeting where we expressed our concerns about safety and such disruptive behavior and making people feel unsafe,” he said. “Our concern was about the safety and police said they will do whatever needs to be done.” 

Abdelmoneim said law enforcement officials said they would increase police presence around the mosque during Sunday school, Friday prayers and around Ramadan.

Suffolk police said nine high-ranking department officials, including Chief of Detectives Darrel Simmons, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Catalina, and Hate Crimes detectives, met with mosque officials. Accusations against Endler did not fit the profile of a hate crime, under the law, police said, but an additional investigation resulted in the arrest on other crimes.

Police have increased patrols at religious institutions, the statement said.

Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a statement: “I want to thank the Muslim community for alerting us to this incident, so that detectives from our office and the Suffolk County Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit can continue to investigate it.”

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder also issued a letter to the community, citing the incident, and saying “Nassau County Police is proactively alerting our members of this event and will continue to intensively patrol houses of worship to deter this type of activity.”

The case also drew the attention of Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado who tweeted Thursday night on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “ We have zero tolerance for acts of hatred or intimidation” and calling the incident “an act of Islamophobia.”

With Shari Einhorn

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