By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - New York Police Department (NYPD) officials are investigating who is responsible leaving hate messages on the lockers of two Muslim officers, the department’s Muslim Officers Society told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
"It is under investigation and that is all I know right now but we assume the person who has done that is from NYPD because it is a locker room and public is not allowed in there," according to Lieut. Adeel Rana, the group’s president.
The incident occurred last weekend inside the men’s locker room at a station near the famed Yankee Stadium in the borough of the Bronx. It was made public Monday.
"Muslims," was written below the name of one officer's on a “Police!! Don’t Move!” sticker, according to reports. The other victim’s locker had "F*** you, Muslim b****" scrawled below his name on a copy of the sticker.
Investigators are trying to determine if the same culprit is responsible for other offensive message found one about two dozen other lockers.
Rana said his group would have a better understanding of why the “unique” incident happened and who is responsible, after the investigation is completed.
The department’s Internal Affairs Bureau is leading the investigation into the possible hate crime, with help from the city’s Hate Crime Task Force.
"There were multiple lockers with anti-Muslim graffiti. The incident is being investigated by Internal Affairs," the bureau told Anadolu Agency without providing additional details.
In a separate statement to Anadolu Agency, the Society urged the city’s mayor to take steps to secure workplace safety.
"We strongly urge the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio to look into the culture in municipality workplace and to take strong action to prevent this type of behavior," it said. "The NYPD and City of New York have a great responsibility ensuring the community that the BIAS incidents will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.”
The statement highlighted a similar incident recently in which a Muslim firefighter in the city was hazed and harassed by other firefighters because of his religion.
Firefighters reportedly tried to trick Raheem Hassan into eating pork and sometimes covered his eating utensils in bacon grease. Islam forbids Muslims from consuming pork.
The society emphasized that these incidents cannot be allowed in workplaces.
“The NYPD is the greatest and the most diverse police force in the world, responsible for protecting the greatest city on Earth, and this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” it added.
There are about 1,000 Muslim officers in the NYPD.
According to a report by the Council on American Islamic Relations, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. rose 91 percent in the first half of 2017, up from the same period in 2016 -- the worst year for anti-Muslim incidents since the civil rights organization began it documenting system in 2013.
The Southern Poverty Law Center also found in 2017 "a dramatic jump in hate violence and incidents of harassment and intimidation around the country" after Donald Trump was elected president.