Stuart Seldowitz
Stuart Seldowitz verbally attacked an individual on the Upper East Side, Manhattan, NYC using Islamophobic remarks Image Credit: Screengrab from the video

A video circulating on social media reveals Stuart Seldowitz, a former US State Department employee and national security official, engaging in harassment and making Islamophobic remarks towards a halal food vendor in Manhattan, New York City.

In the footage widely shared on Twitter, Seldowitz is seen calling the Muslim vendor a “terrorist” and verbally abusing him, even making disturbing comments about the killing of Palestinian children.

The vendor is heard requesting Seldowitz to leave and threatening to involve the police.

In one exchange, Seldowitz calmly states, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough.”

Despite being asked to leave multiple times, he persists and continues making derogatory comments about Islam.

Rise in Islamophobic incidents

In the same clip, Seldowitz makes ominous remarks about harm to the vendor’s parents and calls him “ignorant” for not speaking English.

The racist and Islamophobic undertone of the video has outraged people on social media with many calling for strict action against Seldowitz.

Stuart Seldowitz
Former US official harasses street food seller with Islamophobic comments

In another video, he harasses the same vendor but is interrupted by a bystander who tells him to leave, saying “It’s not right; you are harassing.”

The New York Police Department has since acknowledged awareness of the videos, per The New York Times.

The incidents unfold against the backdrop of Gaza war and increased hate crimes and Islamophobic incidents in New York City — a place otherwise renown for its cosmopolitan culture.

A career diplomat

Seldowitz had a distinguished career with the State Department and served on the National Security Council’s South Asia Directorate under President Barack Obama.

He later became the foreign affairs chair at New York lobbying firm Gotham Government Relations, according to a 2022 press release.

In an interview with Times, he admitted to getting angry with the vendor. Despite multiple instances of Islamophobic language captured on video, Seldowitz denied being Islamophobic.