In rare instance of Cook County justice, a sentence of 3 years in prison given to man convicted of anti-Semitic hate crimes

Cook County, Illinois may be notorious for lenient sentence handed to those convicted of serious, often violent, crimes.  But Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer yesterday gave a man named Shahid Hussein serious prison time for hate crimes at two Chicago synagogues.  "Shahid" is an Islamic name that means "martyr" — one who dies in service to Islam.

Shahid Hussein.  Photo credit: Chicago Police Department.

The invaluable CWBChicago website reports:

In one incident, Hussain stood outside Yeshivas Meor Hatorah of Chicago, 3635 West Devon, and yelled about Jews while breaking lights, using his hands to gesture like he was shooting a shotgun, and making a Nazi-like salute, prosecutors said. Video showed Hussain breaking other lights in the area while wearing a red hat and cape, two items he allegedly wore during other incidents.

Hussain allegedly admitted that he was responsible for the incidents on Facebook and posted photographs of himself performing a Nazi salute with a mustache similar to Adolph Hitler's, prosecutors alleged.

In another incident, prosecutors said that a witness saw Hussain yelling loudly about what time Shabbat began as he walked outside Congregation KINS of West Rogers Park, 2800 West North Shore. She recorded video of the man wearing a cape and red hat as he walked into a vestibule, where another camera captured images of him breaking the glass.

Later, a driver called 911 after allegedly seeing Hussain paint swastikas on trailers outside Jewish institutions on the 2900 block of West Devon. Those incidents were also captured on video.

Police arrested Hussain near the 6300 block of North Albany after a 911 caller reported that a man was yelling about bombing and burning synagogues, according to CPD records.

Judge Sutker-Dermer sentenced Hussain to three years for each count but allowed the terms to be served concurrently, meaning only three years total.  And in Illinois, prisoners are eligible for parole after serving half of their sentences.

These incidents are not Hussain's first crimes:

Hussain was on parole for forgery and on supervision for stalking and violating a no-contact order at the time of the hate crimes. Authorities revoked his parole after the new allegations surfaced and returned him to the Pinckneyville Correctional Center last February.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol.

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