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February 16, 2015 9:30 pm

Kosher Food Cart Vendor Says ‘Halal Mafia’ Preventing Him From Setting Up in Midtown Hotspot

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A Kosher food vendor in New York City says a 'halal mafia' is preventing him from setting his cart at a Midtown hotspot. Photo: New York Post.

A kosher food cart vendor has claimed that a “halal mafia” is preventing him from peddling his edibles in a prime Midtown location, the New York Post reported on Sunday.

Yisroel Mordowitz, 30, wants to sell food from his Holy Rollers cart in the Rockefeller Center area by 48th Street off Sixth Avenue, but a group of Egyptian vendors have been blocking him from setting up shop on the sidewalk. The Queens native claims they have been squatting on the curb and purposefully placing umbrellas and beverage cartons to take up the space that he might use, the New York Post said.

“This guy is hungry — hungry for money,” said Sabrett cart vendor Mohamed Mossad, who is among the dozens of others successfully keeping Mordowitz off the block. “I have a family, too! He’s just coming to this particular spot, and he wants to grab it from me — and kill me, actually. Kill my business.”

“I thought I could bring peace to Midtown,” Mordowitz insisted. “I’m not an enemy — I’m a friend.”

The feud began last Monday when he opened his Holy Rollers cart on 48th Street and by Tuesday he had raked in about $2,000 from sales to tourists and Midtown office workers. However by Wednesday, Mordowitz claims he was under blockade by the halal rivals. One vendor shouted at him, “This is not Palestine!” Another followed his managing partner around in a Jeep Cherokee to make sure he parked the cart far enough away.

After two failed attempts to move his cart to Sixth Avenue, he went southwestward to 35th Street and Ninth Avenue.

“They’re trying to say that the Jews in Israel are pushing people out, so don’t do it here,” Mordowitz told the New York Post. “I said, ‘Why are you terrorizing me?'”

Mossad said his animosity towards Mordowitz has nothing to do with religion.

“He said I am a terrorist. He says I bombed the Twin Towers. That’s racist,” Mossad claimed. “To me, it’s not about him being a Jew.”

Licenses granted by New York City do not specify where vendors must locate and some vendors arrive at 3 a.m. or camp overnight to claim a good spot, the New York Post noted. Vendors can be forced to move for a number of reasons, including being parked too close to a subway entrance.

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