Saif Shah Mohammed got a surprise today - an eviction notice from Republican Governor candidate Carl Paladino. Mr. Mohammed works near the World Trade Center with the law firm Clearly Gottlieb.
Paladino campaign spokesman Michael Caputo explained that this is "part of an overall plan to cleanse the sacred Ground Zero site of any trace of Muslims." This follows on the candidate's proposal to seize a property owned by an Islamic group using the state's power of eminent domain.
Asked about the eviction notice, Paladino said "radical Islamic terrorists from the Middle East are a threat to America and an affront to all those who died on 9/11."
Shah pointed out that he is from Bangladesh, a country which has no association with the 9/11 attacks. He also questioned whether Paladino "has the power to do such a thing when he has never been elected to any office."
Not to be outdone, Republican Rick Lazio called on Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the financing of the Alfanoose Restaurant. The popular Middle Eastern restaurant is owned by Mouhamad Shami, and is known for its falafel in particular.
When Shami was informed of the Lazio proposal, he asked a simple question: "Rick who?" Your correspondent explained Lazio's role as a candidate for Governor. Shami insisted that he'd never heard of him and dismissed the notion quickly. He said he'd check with Ed Cox as he returned to serving a table with a number of lawyers from Patterson Belknap.