A waiter at a Jewish wedding who is considering converting to Islam interrupted the celebration's final prayers with recorded Arabic chants of "God is great," sparking fear among the 700 guests of a terrorist attack, Nassau County police said Friday.
Stephen Buttafuoco, who police say was fired "on the spot" from the catering service at the Woodbury Jewish Center, had attended a pro-Palestinian rally in Manhattan opposing the Israeli campaign last weekend, where he made the recording on his cell phone.
Buttafuoco, 23, was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment, a felony, police said. A grand jury will consider whether to also charge Buttafuoco with a charge of disruption of a religious service, police said.
The wedding guests early Jan. 4 couldn't at first decipher the angry-sounding chants blaring over the public address system shortly after 1 a.m. But when they heard "Allahu akbar" -- Arabic for "God is great" -- the guests became worried.
"They thought that this could lead to some kind of terroristic act," a police source said. The source said the recording "put the guests in fear that something was going to happen to them."
Buttafuoco, who will be arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Hempstead, told detectives that he was trying to disrespect Judaism privately and that he didn't think the recording was being played throughout the building, just in the sanctuary, where he was.
Police said Buttafuoco told detectives that he is not related to Joey Buttafuoco, the man involved in a notorious love triangle in the 1990s with Amy Fisher.
BY MATTHEW CHAYES
January 9, 2009
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Tags: jewish wedding, synagogue, Gaza, Israel, Nassau, Long Island, NY, Islam, Judaism
Location: Woodbury, New York, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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