Dec. 14, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
A Rego Park man was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for attempting to murder a local Muslim man in a hate crime, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today.
The jury found 59-year-old Bernhard Laufer guilty of stabbing and biting a Muslim worshiper at Masjid Al-Saaliheen Mosque, located at 72-55 Kissena Boulevard, in 2012, after repeatedly calling the mosque and threatening to kill all Muslims.
“As I’ve said many times in the past, crimes fueled by hate will never be tolerated in Queens County – the most diverse urban area in the entire nation,” Brown said. “The defendant in this case waged a war of terror against this mosque. Before this vicious attack, he repeatedly called the mosque and threatened to kill all Muslims. He vandalized the door of the mosque and when the victim was opening the place of worship for morning prayer, he stabbed the man in the head, arm, back, hand and bit his nose, leaving the victim with permanent scars and a daily reminder of the heinous, unprovoked attack.”
According to trial testimony, Laufer smashed and broke the door of the mosque on Nov. 16, 2012, and left several threatening messages on the mosque’s answering machine.
On Nov. 18, 2012, Laufer attacked victim Bashar Ahmad at 4:50 a.m. outside of the mosque as he was on his way to open it for the day.
He stabbed Ahmad in the head and continued to stab him over and over again, and then bit him on the nose.
Laufer was arrested after police discovered his glasses he had dropped at the scene with his DNA on them. Investigators also found that the threatening calls to the mosque had come from Laufer’s home phone.
Laufer was convicted at trial of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault as a hate crime, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison with 5 years supervision after he is released