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Arab chant played at N.Y. Jewish wedding

Jan. 11, 2009 at 1:59 PM

WOODBURY, N.Y., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A New York waiter has been charged with a hate crime after playing Arabic chants of "God is great" over loudspeakers at a Jewish wedding reception, police say.

Authorities say Stephen Buttafuoco, 23, was charged Friday with aggravated harassment after persuading the disc jockey at a Jewish wedding party in Long Island to pipe a recording of Arab demonstrators chanting "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," through the hall's loudspeakers, the New York Post reported.

Police claim Buttafuoco, who was working the event as a waiter, "admitted he did this with the intent of disrespecting the (Jewish) religion," court documents indicate. But the man's lawyer says Buttafuoco meant no harm and didn't realize his cell phone recording, which he had made at a pro-Palestinian rally in Manhattan, would be broadcast through the speakers.

His attorney, Thomas Spreer, said Buttafuoco was not anti-Semitic and had worked for the caterers staging the reception for about two years without any problem. Buttafuoco, he said, "was just quietly rebelling against his dad," a pro-Israeli Pentecostal minister.

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