Police: Bayonne man arrested for spray painting anti-Muslim hate speech

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A 20-year-old Bayonne man was arrested early this morning for spray painting anti-Muslim hate speech such as “f*** Allah” and “f*** Arabs” at a local Muslim center, police said.

Bayonne graffiti written on the Bayonne Muslim Center early this morning. Photo via Facebook.
Bayonne graffiti written on the Bayonne Muslim Center early this morning. Photo via Facebook.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Jonathon Hussey, 20, of Bayonne, was charged with criminal mischief, bias intimidation and criminal trespass, according to city spokesman Joe Ryan.

Today around 6:53 a.m., Bayonne police responded to 625 Avenue C on a report of criminal mischief. Upon arrival, officers discovered numerous acts of graffiti, written in spray paint on the exterior walls of the old St. Henry’s Elementary School, officials said.

A majority of the graffiti was located on the 27th Street side of the building where the entrance to the Bayonne Muslim Center is located. The graffiti consisted mainly of denigrating comments towards the members of the Muslim community who attend services there, authorities said.

The Department of Public Works was contacted due to the volume of graffiti and assisted in its removal from the building. Later this morning, investigating detectives, based on an eyewitness statement and camera footage from area buildings, were able to identify Hussey in connection to the incident, police said.

“The vandalizing of Bayonne’s Muslim Community Miraj Center last night was a cowardly and hateful act, but it is an isolated incident, particularly in our home town of Bayonne. The people of this great city make up a great community, one of love and understanding,” the group wrote on their Facebook page.

“It is our position that the individual(s) who committed this atrocious and bigoted crime represent neither the people of Bayonne nor of this great nation. We will not allow this to divide us. Regrettably, the perpetrator(s) have been influenced by the divisive hate speech which has unfortunately and wrongfully become common during these times.”

Mayor Jimmy Davis, a retired police captain, also condemned the hate speech.

“The graffiti sprayed on St. Henry’s School is something we will not tolerate. We condemn all forms of racial and religious bigotry. Hate crime is unacceptable in our community,” Davis said in a statement.

“Our Police Department moved swiftly to make an arrest in this case. Our Public Works Department used its equipment to remove the hateful words that were sprayed on the parish school building. We will not accept either hatred or vandalism.”